When an individual suspects that his or her loved one may be suffering either neglect or abuse within a nursing home setting, it can be difficult to know how to react. Speaking to administration may drive the problem underground. Speaking to an attorney may feel premature without more evidence. As a result, some individuals have taken to installing hidden cameras in their loved ones’ rooms in order to help them confirm or dismiss their suspicions.

In fact, this questionably legal practice has become so popular that one state is considering legalizing it explicitly. By doing so, family members would be able to more easily prove their claims against nursing homes in certain cases. South Carolina legislators are contemplating a bill that would require nursing homes to allow such surveillance and to prohibit discrimination against residents or applicants subject to it.

It is an idea certainly worth considering. The rates of nursing home abuse and neglect currently plaguing American facilities are staggering. However, it is worth noting that every state has its own approach to the legality of such surveillance. Therefore, it is important to speak with an attorney before installing the equivalent of a nanny-cam in your loved one’s room. Failure to explore the law adequately prior to installation could compromise any cause of action you might have against a facility or its staff.

Without adequate evidence confirming abuse or neglect, some individuals remain hesitant to seek out the advice of an experienced attorney. However, this action is almost always advised. Protecting your loved one and your ability to seek recourse often depends on taking the advice of experienced counsel.

Source: The Post and Courier, "Hidden camera at Mount Pleasant nursing home sparks legislation, privacy concerns," Andrew Knapp, May 5, 2013