Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cameras Mulled for Nursing Homes

NEW YORK - ori published 2001 - Surveillance cameras keep a silent watch these days at schools, shops and offices. Could grandma's bedroom at the nursing home be next?

The nursing home industry hopes not; it has steadfastly opposed so-called "granny cams." But industry critics, including some whose parents were abused at nursing homes, think surveillance could reduce mistreatment of elderly residents and improve services for them.

Proponents of surveillance cameras say nursing home residents and their families should decide for themselves whether to install the devices and how to use the footage. But Kane says this would be unfair.

"Other businesses are monitored, but it's a management tool. In this case, management never even sees the tape," he said. "What we're afraid of is the tape goes straight from someone's room to a law firm."

Advocates of the cameras agree that privacy is a sensitive issue, but insist that families - not management - are the best arbiters of what's appropriate.
"My mother would not want a video camera under any circumstances. My father would welcome it," said Barbara Hengstebeck, executive director of the Florida-based Coalition to Protect America's Elders.

"Most families know what their parents would want." Hengstebeck said cameras might detect some flagrant abuses, but she believes the industry's fears really center on poor service. "They're worried about what people are not going to see," she said.

"There's more neglect than anything else. You're going to see people not getting bathed, not getting fed, call bells not getting answered. That's what they're afraid of."

King believes surveillance cameras could be a win-win proposition - bringing peace of mind to families and encouraging nursing-home to make improvements that eventually would lower insurance costs.

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This is an issue thaty has been tabled before but in view of recent videotaping incidents that have made the news media we are bringing it up once more as a subject worthy of consideration.

I am afraid that opponents of Cameras in nursing homes are right , we will see a rise in lawsuits and a lot of very un-happy families that are not going to like what they see. You will also see a lot of very dedicated workers that should be commended for what they do.

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