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Ohio nursing homes could be subject to camera law

Ohio nursing home patients, administrators and family members deserve to know what is going on inside local care facilities. Now, new legislation out of the state capital could help protect residents from nursing home abuse and neglect. That measure would allow patients to legally set up monitoring devices such as cameras, which could capture images of staff members providing inadequate care. The bill has not yet passed, but it is under consideration by a judiciary committee.

Nursing home officials say they worry about privacy concerns in connection with the impending legislation, but advocates say the measure is long overdue. Current Ohio law allows state residents to covertly record each other, so long as one of the parties consents to the taping. This new bill would be targeted directly toward nursing home patients, allowing them the explicit right to protect themselves by personally monitoring their own care.

One state representative is adamant about supporting the bill because his own father suffered from abuse and neglect during his time in a nursing home. The elderly man suffered from severe conditions such as septic shock and dehydration. Family members suspected that the man was being denied water so that staff members would not have to change his undergarments. A change to a new nursing home fixed the problem, but the representative is working to ensure that others do not have to suffer the same neglect.

Officials with a professional health care organizations say the cameras would invade the privacy of staff members and others who might visit the nursing home patients. Attorneys for that group say that an industry standard may develop that would require residents to comply with a no-camera policy in order to live in specific homes.

Elderly nursing home patients have little recourse when it comes to promoting their own care. Those victims of nursing home abuse and neglect deserve to have a legal voice against unqualified caregivers. In this case, the pending legislation would give those people the legal right to advocate for their own care, ensuring that fewer violations occur. Staff members who are aware that they may be watched would be far less likely to perpetrate such abuse.

Source: www.cleveland.com, New legislation would guarantee the right of nursing home patients to set up hidden cameras Jeremy Pelzer, Oct. 29, 2013

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