After Renee Herwin grew suspicious about the care her 86-year-old mother was receiving at a NC nursing home, she decided to install a hidden camera in her room. It didn’t take very long for her to collect the evidence she needed to confirm her suspicions. KPLC says that Herwin placed a small picture frame on a countertop inside her mom’s room that contained the camera on August 28, 2019, and on August 29, 2019, she “had a video of abuse.”
Within 24 hours, Herwin had two videos that captured a worker mistreating her mom.
In one of the videos, Herwin said she witnessed a nursing assistant yelling at her mother, Skip MacNally, who is not only blind, but also suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. The woman went from yelling to “violently moving her across the bed while changing her.” In the video, Herwin says she could hear her mom cry out in pain several times. At one point, MacNally allegedly questions the nursing assistant asking her if she has done something wrong.
The nursing assistant replied. “Devil’s wife.”
After Herwin watched the two videos, she was livid and in shock. While she thought she would likely capture the workers at the facility leaving her mother alone for long periods of time without checking on her or neglecting to feed her when required to do so, she caught more on camera than she ever expected. The woman decided to take the evidence she had collected and present it to the nursing home director, Kris Thompson.
The news source said Thompson fired the two employees that were captured in the videos and called both the Department of Social Services (DSS) and the police to report the incident. The news source says that while a DSS report does show that a social worker had confirmed MacNally was abused, the worker did not open an investigation because the two employees had been fired.
Were any charges filed against the employees?
A few days after the incident occurred, Herwin was contacted by a detective who mentioned he wanted to press charges. However, he informed the woman that the assistant district attorney was not going to be filing any. Herwin, confused by the decision, decided to meet with the assistant district attorney who informed her that “he didn’t see anything criminal in the video” and that is where their meeting came to an end.
Herwin later contacted the news source “[hoping] the story of what happened to her mother would draw attention to a system that has lax regulation and little oversight.” Although Herwin didn’t quite obtain the justice she was seeking, she did find out that her mother was being mistreated by staff members which allowed her to take action and potentially prevent her mother from being abused again.
Can the family of a nursing home resident in Chicago, IL install a camera in their loved one’s room?
Because nursing home abuse has developed into a serious issue that places a residents’ health and safety at risk, it is important for their families to understand what they can do if they suspect their relative is being mistreated or neglected. One way a family can confirm their suspicions is by installing a camera inside their room. Is it legal to do this in the State of Illinois? Here’s what Illinois law says.
According to 210 ILCS 32/15, “A resident shall be permitted to conduct authorized electronic monitoring of the resident’s room through the use of electronic monitoring devices placed in the room.” The law goes on to explain that “a resident, a resident’s plenary guardian of the person, or the parent of a resident under the age of 18 must consent in writing on a notification and consent form prescribed by the Department to the authorized electronic monitoring in the resident’s room.”
In the event the resident “has not affirmatively objected to the authorized electronic monitoring” and their physician has determined that they lack the ability to understand the concept of having a monitoring device installed inside their room, the following people may consent on behalf of the resident:
- A healthcare agent named under the Illinois Power of Attorney Act.
- A resident’s representative.
- The resident’s spouse.
- The resident’s parent.
- The resident’s adult child “who has the written consent of the other adult children of the resident to act as the sole decision-maker regarding authorized electronic monitoring.”
- The resident’s adult brother or sister who has obtained written consent from the other adult siblings to “act as the sole decision-maker regarding authorized electronic monitoring.”
What should I do if I captured a Chicago nursing home worker on video mistreating my loved one?
While you should report your concerns to the nursing home director, we also encourage you to contact Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd. so that one of our trusted Chicago, IL nursing home abuse attorneys can advise you on what your next steps should be. As frustrated and concerned as you may be, our team of dedicated nursing home abuse lawyers here in Chicago are prepared to help you and your loved one get through this.
You can contact Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd. at:
221 North La Salle Drive, Suite 1100
Chicago, IL 60601