Do you have a friend or family member who maintains residency in a nursing home? Then you should know about a rash of elder abuse cases throughout the United States. Elder abuse describes the actions of a person or organization when those actions take advantage of senior citizens who may not have the physical or mental capacity to defend themselves. Taking advantage of an elder might happen physically, financially, or emotionally.
Residents living in nursing homes have the same rights as we do — even though it might take a relative’s careful attention to detail to realize that anything is wrong. This is what you can do if you suspect or discover that a nursing home resident is being illegally mistreated.
First, you will want to contact a qualified attorney. Consultations are free. Your attorney will help outline potential legal options, including contacting the relevant authorities to make a criminal case or filing a lawsuit to make a civil one.
If you take the latter option, then collecting evidence to prove caretaker negligence is important. Right now it is legal to set of camera surveillance in care facilities in Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Washington, Louisiana, and Utah. Even if the law does not specifically allow this action, it might not disallow it either. That means you can try.
When one Minnesota woman suspected that her mother, who was living in a care facility, was being neglected, she set up a camera in her mother’s room. The staff didn’t seem to approve, and routinely turned it in the other direction. When the woman discovered what they were doing to avoid detection, she went to the Minnesota Department of Health to file a formal complaint against the care facility — and they ruled in her favor, allowing the camera in the room and ordering the caretakers to leave it alone.
There is one more thing to keep in mind if you should choose to set up a camera in your loved one’s room: because the laws are new, there are privacy concerns that may arise. This is especially true if your loved one has a roommate. Cameras can capture footage of very intimate situations, and it might be a smart move to ask permission from both your loved one and the roommate — or their power of attorney — before you put a camera in place.
Once you and your lawyer have evidence of negligence, your case can move forward.