Understandably, there is a fine line between preserving an individual’s right to privacy and protecting a person who might not be able to fend for him- or herself, even if a certain amount of privacy is sacrificed in the process. Adult children in New Mexico who oversee the care of a parent in a nursing home or other assisted living facility might take interest in a recent situation in another state where some have proposed an idea that they believe will help prevent elder abuse. The idea, however, comes at a cost — one that opponents say is not worth it when it comes to a person’s right to privacy.
A nursing home in a nearby state, along with families of residents there, have requested that cameras be installed in personal living quarters. Specifically, they want them placed in the bedrooms as a means of ensuring accountability in provided care. The state has expressed its disapproval of the idea, stating that there is a fine line between the business of caring for residents in nursing homes and protecting the privacy of a resident. Current laws in the state allow installation of camera equipment in the common areas of a facility, but the monitoring of private living quarters is off limits.
The daughter of one 85-year-old woman says that she became concerned after noticing signs that perhaps her mother was not being well-cared for by the staff of a California facility. She claims that she photographed a dirty bathroom and unclean clothes that were supposed to have been tended to by the staff. The daughter accused the caretakers of leaving her mother in bed, unattended, for more than 24 hours. She says that her mother suffered bed sores and was wearing a soiled diaper when she found her.
The facility’s staff is concerned with the complaints that have been alleged and are working with the state of California to address the issues. New Mexico family members who believe that their loved one is suffering from elder abuse in a care facility are entitled to seek legal consultation with regard to possible litigation. Whether states pass laws which allow monitoring of private living areas remains to be seen. In the meantime, professional advice might offer valuable assistance to those with concerns about the neglect or abuse of a loved one residing in a nursing home or other assisted care facility.
Source: NBC San Diego, “Protecting the Elderly with Nursing Home Cameras“, Mari Payton, Accessed on Feb. 3, 2015