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The Importance of Video in Protecting Nursing Home Patients

Uneasy senior woman praying for sick man

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then video monitoring is worth ten thousand. As the cliché goes, the camera doesn't lie and while still images can be open to considerable interpretation, the actions shown during a video sequence are very difficult to dispute.



With the growing number of cases involving nursing home abuse throughout the country, it is imperative to take steps to protect America's seniors by providing them a constant eye in the sky to watch over them while they are receiving care.

This past month, Governor Rauner signed into law legislation that will help protect seniors in Illinois by granting them the right to install video monitoring devices to protect themselves from the growing problems of elder abuse and neglect. Under the terms of the legislation, patients in nursing homes or their guardians will need to consent to the installation of video or audio devices. However, the cost of purchasing and installing these devices must be shouldered by the patients or their families. Thus, the law is far from ideal.

As nursing home abuse lawyer, Randall Taradash, points out, "The law gives seniors the right to install these devices to monitor the quality of the care they are receiving. However, the cost of installing these devices can be a considerable burden for seniors on fixed incomes or for families that are struggling to pay for grandma and grandpa's care. This legislation is a step in the right direction, however, more needs to be done to increase access and affordability to the devices themselves.

Among the legislation's strongest advocates, Attorney General Lisa Madigan says the law will provide peace of mind and an added "line of defense" for residents of the state's growing number of nursing homes. This is important as the Illinois Department of health responds to more than 5,000 complaints of elder abuse or neglect annually. Of these reports, just over 100 cases of abuse, neglect, or theft are proven to be valid. However, it is likely that the actual number of valid cases is far greater and video monitoring will help considerably in the investigations.

"This legislation won't end the problems of elder abuse or neglect, however, it will do two things. First, it will cause nursing home staff to think twice before doing anything that might be caught on camera. Second, it will catch them if they don't," remarked Woodstock nursing home abuse attorney Randall Taradash.

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