One of the major reasons seniors are admitted into nursing homes involves their safety. We want our elderly relatives to have the care, comfort and respect they deserve. And we trust nursing homes to provide such services and amenities.
Unfortunately, some nursing homes fail to provide the care residents deserve. As a result, nursing home residents often sustain serious injuries or health problems due to nursing home abuse or neglect. And worst of all, many nursing homes often deny doing anything wrong.
So what can families do? How can you hold nursing homes accountable for their actions? One tempting option is to place hidden cameras in your loved one's room to catch nursing home workers abusing or neglecting your loved one. But is it legal? Can you secretly record nursing home workers in Georgia? The answer to this simple question's more complicated than you might realize.
Can I secretly videotape nursing home workers in Georgia?
According to Georgia state law, covert recording, except in very specific circumstances, is illegal. The situations which allow for covert recording include that done by law enforcement or their agents, which does allow for private investigators to acquire footage necessary to prove abuse or neglect.
Owners of a property may use surveillance to ensure security, prevent crimes, or detect crimes, provided the camera does not record an area where tenants have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as restrooms.
If you believe there is abuse happening and the owners of the nursing home truly know nothing about it, you may want to consider approaching them about providing cameras themselves. Many nursing homes also already have cameras installed throughout such facilities. In either case, video footage can serve as a value piece of evidence that abuse or neglect is occurring in a nursing home.
What should I do if I suspect nursing home abuse or neglect?
If you suspect abuse or neglect, gather evidence to support your claim. While a hidden camera may not be an option, families in Georgia still have the right to:
- Photograph physical evidence of abuse or neglect, which can include:
- Suspicious bruising
- Cuts or lacerations
- Broken bones
- Sudden weight loss
- Other unexplained medical problems
Other things you can do to put a stop to such abuse and hold the nursing home accountable for its actions include:
- Report such allegations of abuse or neglect immediately to the nursing home. If they don't take your concerns seriously, go to the next step.
- Contact the Office of the State Long-Term Car Ombudsman, which investigates allegations of nursing home neglect or abuse in Georgia.
- Seek outside medical opinions. Have a doctor or another medical professional examine your loved one as soon as possible. Their diagnosis can serve as a valuable piece of evidence.
- Visit loved ones living in nursing homes more often. Frequent visits not only benefit loved ones but reduce the opportunities for abusive staff to cause harm.
- Track sudden and unexplained changes in weight or mood. This may be an indication of abuse or neglect.
- Note odd changes in visitation rights or finances. Are they unexplained cash withdrawals or bills? If something seems strange, say something. Contact the police and tell them you suspect your loved one is a victim of financial exploitation.
Many options exist for you and your family. And your actions can be coordinated or carried out in cooperation with experienced legal professionals. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you put a stop to such abuse and neglect. An attorney can also help you hold nursing home's accountable for their actions. Remember, you're not just doing this for your loved one. Your actions could benefit everyone who lives in and relies on nursing homes throughout Georgia.