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Nursing Home Surveillance - Is It Legal?

Steve Wagner

Most of us have been there; we’ve reached the point where we have grandparents or even parents who are no longer able to care for themselves, and we have to make the tough decision of how to best care for them during the remainder of their years.

Choosing a Nursing HomeThe options seem to be limited: either you care for them in your own home, or you move them to an assisted care facility, but all of the options are pricey. For those who choose to place their loved ones into an assisted care facility or nursing home, they may be relieved of the everyday burden of care, but that burden is often replaced by worrying about the health, safety and wellbeing of loved ones.

We hear stories every week about another elder who was neglected or abused in a care facility, due to understaffing, inadequate training, over-worked employees and/or overall negligent care.

Recently, however, the stories that are making news are stories of family members stepping up to advocate. Stories of people taking measures to protect their loved ones, and some even installing cameras in the rooms in order to observe the type of care they are receiving. But we have to stop and consider the legal ramifications of these actions, and we want to encourage you to do the same before you try to install surveillance in secret, even if it is in the best interest of your family members.

For example, one lady in Virginia installed a hidden camera in her mother’s room at the long-term care facility she was in. Although she didn’t witness any major violations or offenses on behalf of her mother, what she did find was enough for her to push for a legislation change when she discovered that it was technically against the law to videotape at the facility without direct approval from the management.

As for the laws here in Indiana, they are unfortunately a bit confusing. While Indiana does allow the recording of private conversations, one party has to be aware of the recording. There are technically no laws prohibiting the use of surveillance videos in homes and businesses, but Indiana does have extremely well-developed privacy laws. These laws often allow for large invasion of privacy lawsuits, on which there are no damage limitations.

Some states now have laws expressly allowing the use of video surveillance in cases like these, but Indiana is not yet one of them. If you suspect your loved one is being mistreated, the safest option for you is to always check with the management of the facility first, before you install some kind of device. If you have their consent, it may save you a huge legal hassle down the road.

The very best option for you in protecting your loved ones is to do the leg work up front and put in some good research on the care facilities in your area. We’ve put together this infographic for you to assist in some checkpoints as you search for the right place for your loved ones.

Wagner Reese – Assisted Living Abuse Lawyers

Whether your loved one is in an assisted living facility, or under the care of a nursing home, if they have been neglected, mistreated, physically, sexually, or emotionally abused, or if they have been victims of financial abuse, or Medicare or Medicaid Fraud Wagner Reese can fight for justice in your situation. None of us wants to see our loved ones suffer, but you can help protect others from the same fate in the future. Call our offices today at (888) 204-8440 to schedule a risk free consultation.

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