Nursing home cameras: Effective abuse prevention or undignified?

Making the choice to move an elderly loved one into a nursing home isn’t an easy choice to make, but it is one that many families are forced to face as their older relatives need help caring for themselves in ways that the family is unable to provide. These families want to believe their relatives are getting the best care possible and are treated with dignity and respect. But how can they know for sure?

As a response to reports of nursing home abuse and negligence, many have advocated for the use of cameras in private rooms to prevent nursing home abuse by employees or others. The problem is that the cameras themselves can be seen as an invasion of privacy and as a tool that reduces the level of dignity that these older adults live with.

With all the controversy surrounding camera use, the exact laws on when, where and how nursing home cameras can be used depend on the state or specific facility. Some nursing homes only allow them if it is clearly displayed that they are present. Many believe that using cameras is definitely a deterrent against nursing home abuse and negligence. If staff members know there is a camera, they may be more careful with nursing home residents when they believe they may be watched. Some family members have gone as far as hiding their own cameras in places like fans or lamps and have proven cases of nursing home abuse that way.

Of course, the person whose opinion matters most in these cases is that of the elderly person living in a nursing home facility. In cases where these residents are able to communicate clearly, their voice should be heard on what steps should be taken to prevent abuse or identify negligence in nursing homes. Regardless of how anyone feels about cameras in nursing homes, if they suspect that a loved one may be a victim of nursing home abuse or negligence, there is no time to waste. They should take legal action as soon as possible in order to protect their loved one and others’ loved ones who might be experiencing similar wrongdoing at the hands of nursing home employees.


Star Tribune: “‘Granny Cams’ are catching on as a tool to deter elder abuse,” Brad Schrade, Sep. 19, 2011

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