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New Mexico allows 'granny cams' in nursing homes

Nursing homes in New Mexico care for some of the state's most vulnerable residents. For that reason, families often worry if their loved ones are being treated right when they are in long-term care facilities.

Families can be especially worried after hearing about all of the instances of nursing home neglect and abuse that occur all over the country. For that reason, some states, including New Mexico, allow family members to install cameras in nursing home rooms.

The cameras, known as "granny cams" are motion-activated so that families can monitor the treatment of their loved ones from afar. Sometimes the cameras are fully disclosed, while other times they are hidden in the room.

If the cameras are out in the open, nursing home employees know that they will be held accountable for any neglect or abuse. If the cameras are hidden, the footage can help prove a case in an abuse or neglect lawsuit against the nursing home.

In fact, even attorneys general in at least two states have used hidden cameras to collect video recordings to use as evidence of nursing home abuse and neglect.

However, some argue that the cameras invade the privacy of the workers and even the nursing home residents. For example, if a resident has Alzheimer’s or dementia, he or she might not be able to consent to the video surveillance.

Additionally, when a resident has a roommate, the roommate's privacy could be invaded by the recordings, some argue.
There is no doubt that hidden cameras pose a potential privacy issue, but many families say that those concerns are insignificant when compared to protecting their vulnerable loved ones.

What do you think? Would you consider using a "granny cam" to keep a watchful eye on a loved one living in a nursing home? Why or why not?

Source: AARP.org, "Nanny Cams in Nursing Homes — Protection or Invasion of Privacy?" Lisa McElroy, Jan. 2, 2014

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