Family-Controlled Surveillance Camera Project: Our Project Is Crucial

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The Surveillance Camera Project Program Will be Successful

There is strong probability of success for Nursing Home Monitors' program. There are no laws forbidding residents from using surveillance cameras. Nevertheless, there is a need to test this in court if the nursing home industry decides to fight it by retaliating against the resident and/or his or her family in any way.

Our goal is for nursing home residents to clearly have the right to monitor their care and not be so afraid of retaliation that they will not use overt cameras.

On January 24, 2001, Nursing Home Monitors testified before the Maryland State Legislators on this issue. The following are a sample of questions raised that day:

bullet"What if the camera misinterprets the actions of the staff?"
    - Response: a camera does not interpret, it records
bullet"What about poor residents who cannot afford cameras?"
    - Response: Some cannot afford televisions, or private sitters to sit with them; that does not mean that families who can afford a sitter should be denied the right to have them.
bullet"Will nursing home owners will use the information on cameras to fire workers?"
    - Response: The camera can help protect the honest nursing home worker.

The surveillance camera can lead to many positive changes. Nursing homes that welcome cameras will have their beds filled and have large waiting lists.  They will attract the type of employee who is there to work and do a good job.  The criminal element, present in so many homes, will stay away.

The care is getting worse. There are more people working for nursing home reform now than ever before, yet the care continues to get worse. 1 of every 3 nursing homes is cited for abusing residents (Congressman Henry Waxman's report "Abuse of Residents is a Major Problem ins U.S. Nursing Homes")

bulletA nursing home inspector said: " There has been no improvement in the care in the last 40 years."
bulletElma Holder, founder of the National Coalition for Nursing Home Reform, said: "Except for physical restraints, there has been no change in the care in the last 25 years. In fact, the care is getting worse. Perhaps it is time we take to the streets." [Coalition's 25th annual convention - 10/00]

State licensing agency directors are coming aboard for the first time. In fact, 12 states have proposed legislation to clearly give residents the right to use surveillance cameras. It is now the law in Texas.

The ACLU states that the resident has the right to monitor his or her own care.

Families will be encouraged to use surveillance cameras with our help and participation/support by attorneys (in the event that they are evicted, or the camera is removed).

It is time to take this crucial step. This is a proactive step that will take us out of the futile mode of catching nursing homes doing bad things and then trying to go after them. This step will prevent bad things from happening in the first place.

Violette King

Nursing Home Monitors



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