The number of reported cases of elder abuse appear to be on the rise, both by nursing home employees and private home caretakers. Many individuals and some care facilities are turning to hidden surveillance cameras as the only way to ensure their loved one are not mistreated. This video shows shocking footage caught on tape by a woman who set up a camera to monitor the woman she hired to take care of her ninety year old father, and other examples abound of elder abuse.
According to a report put out by the Department of Health and Human Services, last year, more than 90% of nursing homes in the United States were cited for violations of health and safety standards, with for-profit homes being more likely to have problems than other types of facilities. Of the more than 37,000 complaints received by the Department, 39% were substantiated, with deficiencies ranging from improper nutrition and bedsores, to medication mix-ups and physical abuse.
In Western New York, the problem has become so grave that the the state attorney general has launched an investigation which puts hidden cameras in nursing homes to monitor caretakers. The cameras have already lead to the arrest and conviction of 27 nurses, nurses aides, and one nursing home owner.
The cameras are meant to serve as both a way of collecting evidence in abuse cases and a deterrent of future abuse. “I want nursing home operators to know we are using technology as a deterrent. Homes should assume there is a camera in the room,” says Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. The difficult thing about elder abuse is that it’s difficult to prove because victims are often unable to advocate for themselves. By using cameras, law makers and health workers hope to improve the quality of care throughout the industry and raise public consciousness about the tragic state of care being offered to the elderly population.