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Hidden Cameras Lead to Arrests for Nursing Home Neglect

This post originally appeared in the Legal Examiner

17 nursing home employees were charged with neglect after hidden cameras recorded a shocking pattern of staff neglecting a 56-year-old Huntington’s disease patient.

During one month, eight nurses and nine nursing assistants failed to dispense the bedridden man’s pain medication, failed to provide liquids, failed to handle basic incontinence care, and sometimes, didn’t even bother to check on him.

The footage was at odds with the nursing home’s records; the staff routinely falsified their documents.

This is not an isolated incident.

Two employees of the nearby Erie County Medical Center’s skilled nursing facility were arrested in September.

Small, discreet cameras have made documenting nursing home neglect much easier
Small, discreet cameras have made documenting nursing home neglect much easier

A hidden camera in the room of a nursing home patient suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia revealed a pattern of neglect. The 79-year-old resident is non-ambulatory—totally dependent on nursing staff for basic care.

Two certified nurse aides violated the patient’s personal care plan by incorrectly performing incontinence care, and not using a mechanical lift to transfer the resident.

When they did use a mechanical lift, they violated protocol by using only one person to operate it.

The nursing staff then allegedly falsified documents to hide their neglect.

Relying on hidden cameras to catch nursing home abuse

The use of cameras to catch the perpetrators is very useful for prosecution. It’s also potentially a deterrent for future negligence: if nursing home assistants think they may be filmed, they are more likely to provide proper patient care.

But these cameras are also an intrusion into a patient’s privacy and dignity in an already intrusive situation.

Hidden cameras may be useful for catching nursing home abuse, but it’s a disgrace that they are necessary.

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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