Cameras may soon be allowed in Illinois nursing homes

The governor of Illinois recently introduced a proposal that would allow cameras to be installed in the rooms of nursing home residents.

Every year, many elderly people in Illinois are abused or neglected by their caretakers in the nursing home where they live. To put an end to nursing home negligence and increase patient safety, the Chicago Tribune states that Governor Lisa Madigan recently proposed that the state make it legal for cameras to be allowed in the rooms of nursing home patients.

Opposing views

If this proposal becomes law, these cameras would be installed on a voluntary basis and the patients and their families would be responsible for paying for the equipment and maintaining the system, states the Chicago Tribune. However, some are concerned about the implementation of these cameras in nursing home rooms because of certain privacy issues. For example, some are worried about:

  • Who would monitor the footage collected by the cameras used in patient rooms
  • How this video footage would be stored and for how long
  • What happens if a patient is unable to consent to the use of a camera in his or her room, but his or her family members insist on its use
  • Whether visitors, staffers and others who visit the room are allowed to be taped

One other concern that exists is that some nursing home residents may be hesitant to constantly be recorded on camera, especially if they are unable to dress or bathe themselves.

Elder abuse is prevalent in Illinois

In Illinois, elder abuse is extremely common. According to the Chicago Tribune, the Illinois Department of Public Health receives nearly 19,000 calls and responds to 5,000 complaints of elder abuse every year. From 2007 to 2010, a quarter of Chicago's 119 nursing homes had allegations of assault or rape filed against them.

Despite the prevalence of abuse in Illinois, this is not the first time a proposal to allow nursing home cameras has been introduced. For instance, in 2007, a legislative effort to prevent abusive actions and make it legal for cameras to be installed in nursing homes failed.

The impact of elder abuse and neglect

In comparison to those who are not abused, elderly people who are mistreated have a 300 percent higher risk of death, states the National Center on Elder Abuse. Abused or neglected nursing home patients are also more likely to experience additional health problems, like depression, high blood pressure, chronic pain, heart problems and digestive issues.

In addition to exacerbated health problems, those living in an Illinois nursing home who are abused or neglected may find that their quality of life is severely compromised. If you or one of your loved ones received negligent care in a nursing home, consult with an attorney to find out what legal actions should be taken.

Keywords: elder, nursing home, abuse, neglect