Adult children and relatives have the right to be concerned about how their parents and kin are treated in nursing homes. Many seniors, sadly, experience abuse – physically, emotionally, sexually, and financially. Staff members may abuse the residents. Visitors may also commit abuse. Our experienced Kansas City nursing home abuse lawyers file personal injury claims and wrongful death claims on behalf of nursing home residents who suffer abuse or neglect.
The numbers are quite staggering. According to the Nursing Center on Elder Abuse:
- At least 10% of adults in community dwellings suffered some type of abuse in the prior year.
- One study revealed that 11.6% of elder care residents suffered psychological abuse, 6.8% suffered financial abuse, 2.6% suffered physical abuse, and .9% suffered sexual abuse.
- A recent study based on self-reports of abuse by residents found institutional abuse as follows: psychological abuse (33.4%), physical (14.1%), financial (13.8%), neglect (11.6%), and sexual abuse (1.9%).
What are the benefits and concerns of using cameras in nursing homes?
Seniors and their relatives advocate for the use of cameras (also called nanny cams or granny cams) to help provide security. The hope is that cameras will deter staff and visitors from committing any type of abuse, as it will be recorded. A second and related hope is that the photographic and video evidence will be used in a court trial subject to the rules of evidence. In many nursing home abuse cases, the case ultimately hinges on the testimony of the senior and the abuser. This type of case can be difficult to prove if the senior has dementia, if they are afraid to testify, if the abuse occurred while they were asleep or medicated, or for other reasons. Recorded images provide tangible evidence of abuse that testimony cannot.
Cameras also give family members peace of mind because they can watch the care their parent or loved one is receiving from the comfort of the family home at any time.
There are concerns, though, that cameras are ineffective and violate the privacy of others. Cameras are only useful if they record misconduct. If a staff member or visitor is aware that the camera is on, they may position themselves or the senior away from the camera so the misconduct is not recorded.
Even if the nursing home, the senior, and their loved one agree to the use of the camera, the camera may violate the security of other residents in the nursing home. If the senior has a roommate, then the roommate’s privacy may be affected. The caregivers may also complain that their privacy rights are being infringed upon.
The use of cameras may also violate Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) rules on the basis that they record private patient medical information.
Generally, if you want to install a hidden camera, you should seek approval from the nursing home.
Are nursing home cameras legal in Missouri and Kansas?
Missouri passed a law in 2020 to permit the installation of cameras in nursing homes. Part of the inspiration for the law was due to the limited contact that families could have with their loved ones due to COVID restrictions. Many nursing homes were off-limits to family members because seniors are most likely to suffer death or severe consequences if they contract the disease.
Both the family and facility will own the video. If there is abuse, the “family can provide the video to state authorities without the facility’s permission.” A facility cannot evict a resident if the family chooses to install a camera.
The law follows the lead of about 10 other states, including Kansas, which permit the use of cameras by families in nursing homes.
What are the rights of Missouri and Kansas nursing home residents?
Seniors in nursing homes have many rights, according to both federal and state laws. If a nursing home receives Medicare or Medicaid payments (most do), then seniors have guaranteed rights including the following:
- Freedom from any type of abuse or neglect.
- Freedom from discrimination.
- The right to respect.
- The right to quality medical care and freedom from restraints.
- The right to speak with a representative
- The right to enjoy time with other residents and visitors.
- Many other rights.
Missouri has its own Bill of Rights for nursing homes that includes the right to:
- A dignified existence.
- Information including ombudsman contact information and changes to the plan of care.
- Raise complaints.
- Manage their finances.
- Information about discharges and transfers.
What if I suspect my loved one is being abused?
Elder care residents have the right to speak with legal counsel. At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, our lawyers have been fighting for seniors for decades. We file personal injury claims and wrongful death cases against nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. We also file claims directly against the abusers.
We demand compensation for all the senior’s injuries including medical bills, the cost of psychological treatment, pain and suffering, and other applicable damages. We file these claims first to compensate the injured senior, and second to send a message to the nursing home that they need to take steps to protect other residents.
We also encourage seniors to file claims with a local ombudsman. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services administers the Missouri ombudsman program. The Kansas Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman administers the Kansas ombudsman program. The ombudsman investigates claims of senior abuse and neglect.
Experience matters. At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, our personal injury lawyers have been fighting for abuse and injury victims for a combined 100 years. We understand the challenges of filing a nursing home abuse claim. We understand what evidence is useful in persuading adjusters to settle your claim and what evidence persuades juries. Our lawyers have a strong track record of successful personal injury results. To learn more about your right to install cameras and other senior rights, phone us at (816) 471-5111 or use our contact form to make a free appointment.
We know that it can feel as if there’s no end in sight when you’re living with a serious injury. At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, we’re on your side from day one. We’ll not only fight for your best interests, but we’ll help you process and deal with your injury along the way. Our personal injury lawyers handle the insurance company for you, and make sure that you find the tools and resources you need to move forward. When you need an experienced, compassionate Kansas City personal injury lawyer, we answer the call.