Surveillance equipment can help prevent nursing home abuse by showing if any abuse is taking place and providing proof in a legal or criminal case. In this piece, we’ll look at:
- How prevalent nursing homes will become in the future
- Our top surveillance tools for nursing homes
- How to report nursing home abuse
- What your legal options are: ie, getting a nursing home abuse lawyer, filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit
One of the hardest reads during peak Covid time was the effect the virus had on nursing homes. We’ve always known that nursing homes are incredibly vulnerable, but Covid highlighted just how easily a virus can enter and harm people living there. In doing so, we also realized just how susceptible people in nursing homes are to different kinds of abuse - and it was a stark wakeup call.
We do have to make a distinction between a nursing home and an assisted living facility. While they both house elderly people, a nursing home is focused on medical and personal care in a clinical environment while an assisted living facility is more relaxed and focuses on a social, interactive environment in a home-like setting.
In this piece, we’re primarily talking about nursing homes. Since people staying in a nursing home are older, sicker, and sometimes incapicitated, their ability to communicate any abuse is hindered, and so it’s up to you, as a family member or friend, to make sure that they’re receiving fair and loving treatment.
Nursing home abuse statistics
There are around 15,000 nursing homes in the United States and around 8.3 million people receive help in a long-term care facility. In a country with a population of over 300 million people this doesn’t seem like much, but the abuse statistics are alarming. The World Health Organization reports that 1 in 6 elders over 60 have been subjected to nursing home abuse while 2 in 3 staff reported that they have committed abuse. These stats increased during the Covid-19 pandemic and it’s predicted to increase even further as countries continue to have rapidly aging populations. It’s predicted that the world’s population of people 60 years and older will double from 1 million now to 2 billion in 2050. Even if you don’t know someone staying in a nursing home right now, you’ll definitely know someone in the future - it might even be you.
Like most kinds of mistreatment, nursing home abuse is hard to spot because it takes on different forms. Physical marks can easily be attributed to a patient falling or knocking something and verbal abuse is hard to pin down and highlight, especially in elderly people who face doubt about their speech and memory capabilities.
The security in nursing homes
A nursing home’s security is designed to protect the people staying inside. It’s mainly focused on preventing people from coming in unannounced from the outside world and doesn’t focus too much on what’s going on inside.
You shouldn’t face too much trouble setting up surveillance equipment inside, especially in the patient’s room. While we can’t be certain about this, we doubt that nursing homes will be using bug detection equipment to spot surveillance cameras. All you need to do is make sure you choose the right device for your needs and put it in a spot where it can pick up on the footage and where it won’t be noticed and mistaken for something else.
Even if you don’t think there’s any abuse going on, using a camera or audio device will give you peace of mind and allow you to keep an eye on your family member.
Our top surveillance equipment
Your first step when choosing which device to use is to understand what you need it for. Cameras are good if you suspect there’s physical abuse going on, but it might also infringe on your family member’s privacy. If you’re putting it in their room, it’s extremely important for you to let them know what you’re doing, even if you think they can’t understand.
If you think that a camera is too invasive, then perhaps an audio device would be better. Alternatively, if you strongly suspect abuse and want to gather as much evidence as possible, you can use a spy camera with an audio device. Have a look at our top picks below.
Camera: The mini travel alarm camera
This is our go-to recommendation for frequent travelers and it’s just as effective for monitoring nursing home abuse. It looks exactly like an alarm clock - and functions as one too so you can easily disguise it as a gift. Simply put it next to your family member’s bedside table and you’ll be able to see what’s happe
It works with wifi, so you can access live footage from anywhere in the world. The videos and dates are also time-stamped, which is a huge advantage if you need to gather evidence.
Nursing home staff have a lot of free reign and uninhibited access to a patient’s room, so hiding surveillance equipment is going to be tricky. Even if you go for a listening device or a camera that’s disguised as something else, it may look out of place in the room.
In this case, our suggestion to go with a disguised recording device that you can hide and one that has a long battery life. The Power Bank Voice Activated Recorder checks all these boxes. Hide the power bank in a drawer as it will still be able to pick up on audio.
The device will only start recording when it hears people talking. The best feature is the battery life, which is what you’ll need if you can’t access the footage often. It has 150 days of standby power and 14 days of continuous sound. You’ll have to get the device back and plug it into your computer to listen to the audio, but it’s a small catch 22 when you consider the battery life and storage capabilities.
Camera and audio: Wireless charger clock speaker camera
The wireless charger clock speaker camera is your all-in-one surveillance device. It looks exactly like a clock, but behind that is a camera that can stream full HD videos at a high resolution, it has night vision that can see 20 feet in darkness and it has a bluetooth speaker and alarm clock.
If you strongly suspect that your family member is being abused in their nursing home, then you’d want to do everything to make sure that it’s not happening or if it has happening, that you’ve got enough proof to file charges or sue.
What to do with your proof
It’s a reality that nobody wants to face, but you may just have to. If your surveillance equipment has picked up on nursing home abuse, then your first step is to call 911. The authorities need to be notified immediately so that they can make sure that nobody else is in danger.
Remove your loved one from the home as soon as you can and take them to their primary care physician to make sure that there’s no lasting physical damage. The physician will also be able to help you with follow-up counseling information.
There are different state agencies for elder abuse and to access this information, you can call the elder care locator at 1-800-677-1116.
Depending on who pays for the home - if it’s medicaid or medicare - you can contact them to report the abuse. They will have resources to help you and your loved one through this.
Nursing home abuse lawyer
Through all of this, contacting a nursing home abuse lawyer might be the last thing on your mind, but elderly people should feel safe and loved and family members should feel at ease knowing that their loved ones are in a secure environment. When these rights are violated, people should be held accountable.
A civil law attorney who specializes in nursing home abuse can take a look at the case and possibly help with compensation.
Nursing home abuse lawsuit
If other people come forward with complaints of abuse and evidence surfaces that these incidents haven’t been properly dealt with, then you could look at working with other people in the home to file a nursing home abuse lawsuit.
The evidence you’ve gathered with the surveillance equipment will be incredibly helpful here. You can choose to file a civil lawsuit against the staff or against the whole organization.
Nursing homes are a for profit business and like businesses, their goals are to cut costs and charge a premium. It’s a risky model in a facility where people need care, fair treatment, and the best medical personnel and equipment. Keeping an eye on your loved one is essential.