Nursing home injuries and deaths are among the most tragic because they often involve frail, elderly and/or mentally compromised people who can't speak for themselves. Many have no way of communicating to loved ones or others that they are being neglected or mistreated by staff or other residents in the facility.
The Illinois Department of Public Health receives approximately 19,000 complaints every year of neglect and abuse in long-term care facilities throughout the state. A bill just signed into law by Gov. Rauner aims to help protect these residents and give their loved ones peace of mind. The legislation passed in the General Assembly this May with overwhelming bipartisan support.
The law allows residents and their family members to install monitoring devices in nursing home rooms. It also requires that a sign stating that the room contains an electronic device be posted outside the room. Therefore, residents, staff and visitors will be aware that there is a camera inside.
If a resident or family members choose to install one of these cameras, any roommates must give written consent. Further, the resident or family must pay for the camera's installation and maintenance. The resident must also give written consent.
The law specifies the ways in which any information gathered by the camera can be used. It may be used in civil, administrative or criminal proceedings regarding the safety, health or welfare of residents.
This should be an important tool to help protect nursing home residents from harm. It can provide evidence to help support family members' claims that a loved one has been neglected or abused and in wrongful death cases.
If you are considering taking action because you believe that a loved one has been harmed, make sure that your attorney is aware of the monitoring device so that he or she can obtain the images captured by it in order to help support your case.
Source: AARP, "New Illinois Law Will Allow Cameras In Nursing Homes At The Request of Residents and Their Families.," Jennifer Baier, Aug. 24, 2015