NBC News recently reported that the state of Wisconsin and even New Jersey, are going to be handing out secret cameras to the family members of those who reside in nursing homes. The cameras are going to be used to “secretly record caregivers suspected” of engaging in abuse. Attorney General Brad Schimel stated that, “it should make preying on the elderly harder to get away with.” While critics of the cameras are protesting the idea as they “consider it a disturbing government foray into private spying,” Schimel thinks that it will remind caregivers who cater to the elderly that if they even think of misbehaving, they could potentially get caught for it.
The news source reported that the cameras would only be loaned out for a 30-day period and “agency officials have already spent $1,200 on equipment to start the program on a pilot basis.” In order for a family member to place one of these secret cameras in their loved one’s room, they must agree not to record any audio to avoid violating federal wiretap laws. The cameras also cannot be placed in bathrooms or the caregiver’s bedroom.
What laws are currently active in the state of Illinois that can help catch a caregiver who might be abusive?
While it is evident that nursing home abuse is an issue in states all across the U.S., Illinois is one state that struggles greatly with the issue. AARP highlighted that “every year, the Illinois Department of Public Health receives approximately 19,000 complaints of abuse and neglect against individuals who reside in the state’s long terms care facilities.” While various departments work to combat nursing home abuse and neglect, Illinois has already enacted a law that can help catch a nursing home staff member who might be engaging in harmful or abusive behavior that is causing an elderly individual to suffer.
So, although the state of Illinois may not be handing out these secret cameras to help catch neglectful and abusive nursing home staff, the state does allow the family of a nursing home resident to place a camera inside their loved one’s room under certain conditions. In 2015, Governor Rauner signed HB2462, which was applauded by AARP Illinois, that gave the family of nursing home residents permission to install cameras in their loved one’s room given they were willing to agree to the following terms:
- The family is responsible for the cost of installation and ongoing maintenance of the camera.
- The resident must sign a consent form agreeing to have the camera installed.
- The resident’s roommate must also sign a consent form agreeing to have the camera installed.
- Notification must be posted outside of the resident’s room to alert facility staff, residents, and visitors of the camera.
AARP also pointed out that any recording made from the device must only be shared for the purpose of addressing concerns related to the health, safety, or welfare of a resident or residents in civil, criminal, and/or administrative proceedings.
The fact is, when you place a loved one under the care of nursing home staff, you are essentially placing your trust in individuals who are expected to be professionals who have the skill, knowledge, and training to provide the care your loved one needs. And while they may be qualified to do this, it doesn’t mean they are always treating them fairly or with the respect they deserve. That is why HB2462 was passed and why you have the Chicago, IL nursing home abuse lawyers at Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd.
And if you ever suspect that your loved one has been mistreated or neglected or you have video footage that proves they are being abused, please contact our nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at 1-312-384-1920 so that they can provide you with the legal assistance you need right now.
You can contact Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd. at:
221 North La Salle Drive, Suite 1100
Chicago, IL 60601