Are "Granny Cams" The Answer to Elder Abuse?

Camille Parent was outraged when he discovered that his elderly mother, who was living in a long-term care home, had received an unexplained black eye. Because of her dementia, she couldn’t deal with the problem on her own. So Parent installed a hidden camera — sometimes referred to as a “granny cam”— in his mother’s room.

Parent was shocked by what he saw in three weeks of video footage. For example, the camera caught one nursing home worker waving a rag covered in MacDonald’s own waste near her face. Thanks to the video, four workers were ultimately fired. The abuse that Parent witnessed happening to his beloved mother happens much too frequently to many vulnerable adults living in nursing homes across North America.

A nonprofit group conducted a comprehensive, state-by-state review of nursing homes through the United States. Researchers reviewed such things as inspections, complaints filed, and staffing levels, as a recent op-ed piece in the Digital Journal notes.

Among the shocking statistics:

  • Only 10 states passed the review
  • 11 states completely failed the review
  • 40 states lacked adequate nursing home care.

These numbers reinforce the need for more vigilance around nursing homes. Currently some 1.5 million people live in approximately 17,000 nursing care facilities across the country. Analysts expect that number will increase by almost 40 percent over the next 10 years.

“These statistics are frightening given the fact that so many individuals are receiving substandard care,” said Dusty Wright, the author of the op-ed in the Journal. “Furthermore, many nursing home patients are physically unable to communicate the abuse they suffer or are too fearful to do so.”

Installing a hidden video camera in your family member’s room can help you document — and expose — instances of nursing home abuse, says Wright. And, if necessary, it can provide the proof that you need to take legal action against those who may be abusing your beloved family member.

But many people are concerned about the legality of hidden cameras in nursing homes. The laws vary by state, so you should contact the nursing home licensing authorities in your state, who can tell you about your state’s rules and regulations.

Wright suggests speaking with a legal representative and asking the following important questions:

  • Can the camera be concealed?
  • Can audio be recorded?
  • Do nursing care facility administrators and staff need to know the camera is there?

Using cameras is one tool to fight elder abuse and neglect. If you or a loved one has been a victim of abuse in a nursing home or assisted living facility, take legal action immediately. There is help available for nursing home abuse. Contact the experienced nursing home abuse attorneys at Sokolove Law today for a free consultation.

Sokolove Law Team

Contributing Authors

The Sokolove Law Content Team is made up of writers, editors, and journalists. We work with case managers and attorneys to keep site information up to date and accurate. Our site has a wealth of resources available for victims of wrongdoing and their families.

Last modified: April 11, 2019