Nursing home abuse is a serious problem, with the National Center on Elder Abuse reporting as many as 10 percent of seniors surveyed said they had experienced abuse over the prior year. Many nursing home residents and their family members want to use video cameras in order to record what is occurring in a nursing home environment. Unfortunately, this is not always possible, as some nursing homes abuse privacy laws to prevent recording of patient care.
If you are concerned your loved one is being victimized by abuse, or if you are in a nursing home and are being harmed, you need to get help with a comprehensive investigation. You also need to ensure you get the right legal advice so you can report the abuse to authorities and so you can move forward with a claim for compensation. A South Carolina nursing home abuse lawyer at Howell & Christmas can offer you a free case evaluation in instances of suspected abuse. We can also help you to answer questions, such as:
- How can nursing homes keep cameras out of resident’s rooms?
- Do state laws allow you to put a camera in a nursing home patient’s room?
- How can a South Carolina nursing home abuse lawyer help with a nursing home abuse investigation?
How Nursing Homes Keep Cameras Out of Patient Rooms
The New York Times reported on a story demonstrating how nursing homes have prevented patients and their families from using video cameras to record abuse. In this case, a nursing home patient saw a police officer in a nursing facility and described abuse she had experienced. She was unable to communicate the details of the assault or to provide details on the alleged abuser. Her daughter wanted to put a video camera in her room to identify who may have perpetrated the abuse and to get evidence of the abuse.
The nursing home, however, said the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) Act prevented such use of cameras. HIPAA is a patient privacy law intended to prevent patient health records from falling into the wrong hands. Instead, HIPAA is being used as a tool by nursing homes to make it harder for residents and their family members to get conclusive evidence abuse has occurred.
Do State laws Allow You to Put a Camera Into a Nursing Home Patient’s Room?
HIPAA regulations should not preclude the use of video cameras in a nursing home setting, as long as the camera is owned and installed by the nursing home patient and/or his family members. However, while HIPAA doesn’t prevent cameras, this does not necessarily mean nursing homes have to allow them.
In some states, affirmative steps have been taken giving patients the right to use cameras. In Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Washington, D.C., laws have been passed explicitly allowing cameras. Other states, including Illinois where the patient in the New York Times story lived, are considering legislation protecting the rights of nursing home residents to put cameras in their room.
In South Carolina, there is no law related to cameras and no pending legislation. However, if you want to put a camera in a nursing home resident’s room and are denied by the home, this could raise a red flag that the home is doing something wrong.
How Can a South Carolina Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Help?
A South Carolina nursing home abuse lawyer can help you to argue for your right to use a camera in a patient’s room and can otherwise assist in conducting an investigation into whether abuse is occurring. Call Howell & Christmas today to find out what your options are if you suspect abuse and to begin moving forward with a nursing home abuse claim.