Florida Legislature Debates Granny Cams in Nursing Homes
More states are lining up to force nursing homes to allow loved ones to set up “granny cams” in their rooms to prevent elder abuse. Nursing homes have broad latitude when it comes to what is and is not allowed in one of their patient’s rooms. This allows them to legally prohibit family members from keeping an eye on their loved ones.
The efforts are centered around multiple claims of elder abuse and neglect. The nursing homes, of course, are against the idea of allowing family members to demand to install granny cams in their loved one’s rooms. They cite patient confidentiality as the key reason, but liability is another serious issue they’ll have to contend with.
While instances of elderly patients being abused, sexually and otherwise, gobble up all the headlines, far more often than not, it’s basic neglect brought about by understaffing that creates the majority of issues. These include instances where those in convalescent homes go unwashed for weeks at a time, aren’t rotated properly to avoid bedsores, or other lapses in their standard of care that result in death or injury.
Legal Consent to be Monitored
The nursing industry’s argument that granny cams invade the privacy and dignity of their patients is not without merit, despite the more likely reason that they’re simply trying to insulate themselves from liability. In many cases, those within the walls of a nursing home do not have legal standing to provide consent to be monitored. The decision would then fall to their health care proxy. Nonetheless, the health care proxy cannot act against their loved one’s best interests. In this case, it may be impossible to determine their loved one’s best interest.
Less clear still is how these granny cams would affect those with a stable presence of mind. Many nursing home residents form romantic bonds with others within the nursing homes or otherwise don’t want their loved ones to see them in potentially compromising positions. The question isn’t whether or not granny cams should be mandatory. The question is whether or not the nursing home should be forced to permit them.
If they can force residents to not have cameras in their rooms, then there may be limitations, based on state law, as to how that information can be used against the nursing home should abuse occur. But most residents probably don’t want their family members to watch them being cleaned, changed after an accident, or otherwise in a compromising position.
Obviously, there is a bit of a balancing act as concerns the family’s right to ensure the safety of their loved one and the patient’s right to privacy, and it’s creating a legal tangle for legislators. Today, granny cams are allowed in numerous states regardless of the nursing home’s consent. Allowing them in Florida means allowing evidence gleaned from them to be used in criminal and civil disputes.
Talk to a Vero Beach Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
If you believe your loved one is being abused by nursing staff or otherwise neglected, talk to the Vero Beach personal injury attorneys at Vocelle & Berg, LLP early in the process and we can get the evidence you need to file a lawsuit.