|Security Cameras In Nursing Homes|
To install or not to install?
This question is at the forefront of
debates concerning the management of nursing homes. At present, the issue of
whether or not to put security cameras in nursing homes and where these should
be placed is extremely controversial and is far from resolved.
Installing Security Cameras in Nursing Homes
The most important argument
in favor of security cameras is their deterrent value against abuse and
substandard care. These security cameras have been given the moniker "granny
cams" and are said to be a positive step in reducing the potential for elderly
abuse. Experts believe that granny cameras could singlehandedly restore public
confidence in nursing homes because they give family members instant access to
recently stored footage. They can, thus, closely monitor the well-being of their
parents or grandparents.
Security cameras retail for at least $630 and
may go up as high as $1,590. On top of this, there is a $20 monthly fee for
accessing the server and another $10 monthly to upload images via a data-only
Drawbacks of Installing Security Cameras in Nursing Homes
Not surprisingly, the strongest opposition to the use of granny cams
comes from the industry itself. Nursing-home operators and staff consider video
surveillance a needless invasion of privacy. They fear that security cameras
would make it so much harder to retain good staff and attract new ones.
Moreover, they believe that use of security cameras will compromise a patient's
dignity, particularly when bathroom and bathing activities are filmed and then
reviewed by security. Another argument used is the additional expense. After
all, a nursing home would need not just one, but several, security cameras
distributed in strategic places throughout the nursing home.
While not trifling, however, the costs of purchasing the
equipment and the installation expense are comparable to the cost of updating
housekeeping, food, or recreation services. This means that the purchase and
installation of security cameras should be treated as necessary an overhead cost
as staff salaries, for example.
Additionally, experts believe that
security cameras help nursing home operators minimize their legal responsibility
should an employee or a nursing home resident be found guilty of abusive
behavior. By having digitally captured evidence on hand, nursing home owners can
thereby reduce unnecessary and groundless litigation.
At present, a
dozen state legislatures are actively considering passing the granny-cam
legislation. Existing laws mandate that an operator must inform the staff ahead
of time of the presence of cameras and their respective placements. Otherwise,
video surveillance may be considered illegal. There are no law expressly
prohibit the use of security cameras. What prevents their wide use, however, are
practical barriers in the form of pricing and vehement opposition from the
So, to install or not to install security
Nursing-home operators vehemently answer "no" while experts
openly advocate their mandatory use. If you are a nursing-home owner, the added
institutional cost would mostly likely make you cringe. If you are one of the
many in search of a nursing home for a loved one, your answer to this question
should dictate your choice of nursing homes. However, do not make it your only
consideration. Check the facility's history of deficiencies and citations from
formal regulatory inspections.
It will be very difficult for this
controversy to be resolved speedily because it is an issue that hits too close
to home. It simply is not possible to put a price on safety, or negotiate