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Time for Virginia to Permit Nursing Home Surveillance?

By Josh Silverman on November 07, 2013


This is a contentious issue that if you have been following my blog, you know I have commented about numerous times.  I've admittedly been a fence sitter on this one and to some extent I still am on the fence.  A starting point that can't be repeated enough is that most nursing home employees do their best at a very challenging job and for ridiculously low pay.  I'm not as forgiving of the owners and operators of for-profit nursing homes, but that's another topic for another day. 

As for surveillance cameras or so called "granny cams," I think we are moving in the direction where they should be permitted.  It is a balance between privacy and safety.  Many of my nursing home cases involve falls and pressure ulcers.  In both situations the nursing claims that the life threatening injuries came despite good care.  If true, you'd think the nursing home would welcome video evidence.  There is only one downside to permitting video surveillance and that is protecting the dignity of the residents.  Obviously a lot of personal care happens in a patient's room which frankly most family members don't want to see anyway.  However when it comes to a choice of safety verse dignity, I think we have to put safety first. It may not be right for every patient, particularly those who have the capacity to consent or refuse to consent.

Other states are moving in this direction.  Oklahoma now allows video surveillance.  Here is a link to a news story containing a nursing home's perspective.

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