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Nursing Home Surveillance

Nursing Home Surveillance

by STEPHANIE ERICKSON
Contributor

I have seen several articles posted on blogs and in newspapers related to abuse of a senior by a paid caregiver.

Many of these stories are about a caregiver in a home setting who abused physically or financially a senior.  But some of the stories I have come across involve caregivers who work in facilities.  This is disturbing on many levels.  Where are the other staff members?  Don’t they notice or observe their colleague’s misbehaviour?  Doesn’t someone notice bruises that require further investigation?  Where is the management?  Where is the family who may (or may not) observe or notice a change in their loved one’s behaviour, mood, or physical appearance that might raise a red flag?

But today, my question is this: Is it ethical and/or legal to put a hidden camera in a patient’s room at a residence?

Residences are considered generally to be a person’s home, therefore a “private” environment.  This is not an elevator or street corner where cameras may be used for public safety.   What are the factors or situations when installing a hidden camera in a senior’s residence is appropriate?  How do caregivers who work in these facilities feel about knowing that they may be filmed without their permission?  Is this video submissible to law enforcement should something go wrong?  Does this violate the patient’s confidentiality if they have not, or don’t have the ability to consent to being filmed?  How does this violate potentially other residents’ confidentiality who may be in that room?  What if the family witnesses mistreatment of another resident (not their family member)?  What do they do?

I am asking my followers to comment on this post as I am interested to see how everyone balances the rights of individuals (confidentiality, informed consent, privacy) versus the potential abuse of a senior.



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Stephanie Erickson

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