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Can You Put a Surveillance Camera in a Nursing Home Room?
December 19th, 2018

Technological advances have made it easier to stay connected with loved ones all the time. This has included the ability to install cameras in a loved one's nursing home room. These so-called "granny cams" have legal and privacy implications. 

The benefit of putting a surveillance camera in a nursing home is the ability to monitor your family member's care. Families that suspect abuse or neglect can keep on eye caregivers. Being able to observe care from afar can give family members peace of mind that their loved one is being well taken care of. It can also serve as evidence if abuse is found. Even if there is no abuse, cameras can be helpful to observe if caregivers are using improper techniques that may injure a resident.

On the other hand, cameras raise privacy concerns for both residents (including roommates) and caregivers. Residents may not want to be monitored while they are in a vulnerable state, such as changing or bathing. If the recording device picks up audio, then even the resident's conversations may no longer be private. 

All this aside, do nursing homes have to permit families to install cameras? This varies depending on the facility. Some nursing homes may have language in their admission contracts banning cameras or imposing specific requirements for their use. However, concerns over elder abuse have led some states to pass laws allowing cameras in nursing homes. At least six states -- Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Washington -- have passed laws permitting families to install a camera in a nursing home if the resident and the resident's roommate have agreed. Utah permits cameras in assisted living facilities. New Jersey does not have a law specifically permitting cameras, but it has a program that loans surveillance cameras to families who suspect abuse. In other states, the law surrounding camera use is more vague. 

If you are considering installing a camera in a loved one's nursing home room, you should contact your attorney to discuss the legal and practical implications. 

For a fact sheet about nursing home surveillance from The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care. 

And keep in mind the Consumer Voice’s advice that cameras are “no substitute for personal involvement and monitoring.”

You need to get legal advice as to whether it is legal or not for you to put a camera in your father's room at the long term care facility.

If you suspect abuse, contact the State Department of Health and Human Services Licensure Division for Long Term Care/Nursing Homes and also contact the Long Term Care Ombudsman for your state.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to DeeAnna

Yes, you can put in a nanny cam.

But if you strongly suspect abuse, or just don’t feel good about the place, have you considered moving him?
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to ACaringDaughter

I would do what you need to do.  If he's being abused you need to catch it so they can be held accountable.  There are so many ways to hide a camera, picture frame, stuffed animal.  Illegal?  I don't know.  Consequences from the facility if they find out, maybe.  Your dads safety biggest concern, absolutely!
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Jessica40

What sort of abuse, and why do you suspect it? Coming from certain individual members of staff, or a more widespread problem?

The reason I'm asking these questions is that I'm not sure what I'd do in your place.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Countrymouse

Everyone on yhis forim have given great answers / suggestions, but I would start looking for another place.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to anonymous418566

I was going to put one in my mother’s ALF apartment ( dr suggested it might her cut down some of her delusional statements) but it’s against their policy. Make sure you check

But I would notify the facility. Is it one person?
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Jannner

Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. What we are experiencing is that the facility is saying my dad is aggressive and has assaulted staff. We heard NOTHING about this. Until last night when they called my sister Judy who is poa and said it was a courtesy call to let us know they were sending him to the hospital for a psych eval. Judy stopped them! They said it was a fourth incident in two weeks. They had the police there! But we have not been advised of any of this. Judy got the administrator on the phone and it turns out that there is no one staff who can say what exactly has been happening. But they all say that someone else notified us, though the administrator could find no record of such in my dad's chart.

When we moved my dad in, we instructed facility that he sleeps long during the day and that they should allow him. They should try to get him up of course but not to insist if he refuses. Just leave him a meal tray. What we have heard from another resident's husband is that they have been insisting that he get up to go to meals and he told them to get out. I know if they try to manhandle him he will push back.

I visit 2-3 times a week during the evening and have observed staff ignoring patients. There are two patients who constantly holler, loudly, yet they are kept in the public living room with the other patients. This yelling really affects my dad and agitates him. He had also begun having pooping episodes that are quite messy. This seems to aggravate the staff. At least three times I've been there and cleaned him up. Once I actually got in the shower with him and cleaned him head to toe while an aide stood around not knowing what to do next. How could this be?

All in all, we (my 7 siblings and I) feel this is a staff issue, lack of training combined with lack of oversight and supervision. They are pretty much sitting at a table on the side of the community living room and not doing much.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to lauren333
lauren333 May 31, 2019
And yes, tomorrow I'm contacting Ombudsman. I've already talked to two other facilities. I work in the hospice industry so I am immersed in elderly care and dementia patients.
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In SNFs, family members are not allowed to be in shower or bedroom when getting washed, changed...they supposed to wait outside until Aides are finished. He should require 2 aides & under no circumstances should this happen again...speak to Social Worker.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to CaregiverL
muycarox1 Jun 3, 2019
I've had the same issue with CNA's yelling out "Patient Care" upon entering my Mom's room as if I'm in violation when they were changing her Diaper. I've had a hateful CNA violently pull the curtain in front of y face while standing out of the way observing them use the Hoya lift to put my Mom in bed. I just re-positioned myself so I could still see. (If there's nothing to hide what is the problem?) I'm her HPOA and DO have the right the be in the room, shower or wherever my Mom is in the facility even if it's privately owned. Each independently owned Nursing Home has its own rules, however, on allowing family members to be present during patient care. But if you are the HPOA you do have that right. Personally, I feel that if you are not in the way and want to be present or want to inspect your loved one during this time it should be fine. It takes a team effort to care for your loved one. Being an advocate is part of that team effort. Talk with the Nursing Mgr or the Administrator about this if you are not the HPOA and it is bothering you. Best wishes to you and your family.
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Laws vary from state to state. Some states do allow camera's in residents room as long as certain guidelines are followed. Check to see what the law's are in your state.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to cjwilson

If you catch a person in a criminal act, the courts will allow it to be submitted, even if your state does not allow nanny cams.

If you see no criminal activity, then simply do not present the video to anyone.

Please ensure that it is a hidden camera, and it is only pointed at your mother, not any roommates.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Heather10
MsRandall Jun 3, 2019
Some courts will allow to be submitted, BUT that may not protect a person from their own criminal or civil liability , Legally they cannot if the state has law against video taping others without consent. They would need the consent of management.
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