For many families in New York and around the country, the need to provide care for an aging relative can be a source of concern. On top of finding a facility that offers the level and type of care needed for a loved one's situation, there can be worries about the safety of a resident. Elder abuse and neglect are real problems in today's society and the desire to guard against this has led many people to find ways to monitor their relatives in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
One way that some families have attempted to prevent their relatives from becoming the victims of neglect or abuse is by installing cameras in their rooms. A social worker from the University of Washington conducted a blind survey of more than 270 care facilities around the nation to take a closer look at the potential pros and cons of these monitoring cameras.
On the positive side, cameras may act as a deterrent to abuse or neglect and might offer a slight increase in accountability. They may also help facility staff keep informed about the needs and status of a resident. However, there are several negative aspects to cameras in nursing homes that indicate their use may not be the best way to keep people safe.
One legal issue with monitoring cameras is the ability of a resident to consent to being videoed. When a person has a roommate, the concerns can be even greater as it can be all but impossible to avoid capturing at least audio of the roommate if not video as well. Privacy and dignity of a resident need also to be considered.