NJ Lawmakers Want to Capture Nursing Home Abuse on Video

If eldercare advocates get their way, New Jersey nursing home workers won’t be able to hide their negligent or abusive behavior. Video cameras may soon send a simple, clear message: people are watching.

Despite predicted criticism from nursing homes and their workers, a measure to allow video cameras to be installed in patients’ rooms is on the fast-track to becoming law in New Jersey. Praising Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Bergen and Hudson), the lawmaker who introduced A-3883, Evelyn Liebman, associate state director of AARP New Jersey, said families of nursing home patients have an absolute right to know what’s going on with their loved ones.

“This is about the choice of the resident and their families in their homes, because the nursing home is their home,” Liebman maintains. She also said that since hundreds of millions of dollars of Medicaid funds are pumped into nursing homes every year, taxpayers – a.k.a. families of nursing home residents – have a right to transparency.

Assemblyman Prieto says he believes the law will not only safeguard nursing home residents, but will also be a deterrent. He predicts the amount of abuse and theft by workers and other residents will decrease – now that people will know video cameras are capturing everything.

Of course, it’s no surprise that the union representing nursing home workers is strongly opposing the installation of video cameras. They say the move would undermine trust and perhaps even violate some patients’ privacy rights.

In contrast, Liebman thinks cameras would actually be a comfort to families beyond the safety issue. She said families who live far away and can’t visit often can “see” what’s going on day in and day out with their own eyes.

The way the current pending legislation is written, the nursing home wouldn’t be liable for privacy violations and all residents (or their family representatives) would have to consent to having the cameras installed in personal rooms. The decision to allow audio would also be up to the resident.

If you have an elderly relative who is experiencing abusive or negligent behavior in a New Jersey nursing home, contact skilled personal injury lawyer Barry Sugarman today for a free consultation. No one will fight harder to protect your loved one’s rights.

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