Are Hidden Cameras Admissible in Nursing Home Claims?

Following Hurricane Irma, the temperatures in a Hollywood Hills nursing home soared to 99 degrees, which is 18 degrees higher than federal regulations allow. This ultimately resulted in the deaths of 13 people who were living there.

Residents of the nursing home struggled for 62 hours in the oppressive heat, and at least four out of every five residents on the top floor suffered some level of heat exposure and/or dehydration. The state of Florida has since alleged that officials from the nursing home violated state law because they should have recognized the risks associated with the rising temperatures.

Nursing Home Claims

Family members of the deceased residents filed lawsuits against the nursing home, claiming that it was understaffed, and that pleas for water by residents went unanswered. The nursing home stated in its defense that they properly monitored, hydrated and cared for their residents and that at no time “were any excessive temperatures experienced in the building.”

In this particular case, video surveillance would have conclusively determined if residents of the nursing home experienced abuse and neglect. But are hidden cameras even legal?

Does Florida Allow Hidden Cameras?

There are currently only a handful of states that legally allow hidden cameras in nursing homes, and Florida is not one of them. That being said, in most states, there is no specific law that makes it a criminal offense for a friend or family member of a nursing home resident to place a hidden surveillance camera in the resident’s room. In fact, in the state of Florida, anyone can use a hidden camera in public places to deter criminal activity.

Placing a hidden camera in a nursing home can, however, violate The Omnibus and Reconciliation Act (OBRA), which is a federal law that regulates nursing home conduct in the United States. The OBRA Act gives nursing home patients the right to privacy in:

  • Accommodations
  • Telephone communications
  • Family meetings
  • Visits
  • Written communications
  • Medical treatments

If nursing home staff members discover a video surveillance camera on the premises, they may legally remove it, as well as refuse to allow such surveillance moving forward.

Florida Health Care Association Is Against Nursing Home Video Surveillance

The Florida Health Care Association has cautioned against the use of video surveillance to monitor nursing home patients. As such, before deciding to place a hidden camera in a loved one’s room, it is important to know that you may be violating privacy laws, as well as the nursing home contract you signed. This contract almost certainly stated that family members would adhere to nursing home regulations. As such, using a hidden camera could result in the expulsion of your loved one.

Contact Our Florida Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

If you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home, it is important to contact an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer immediately. Prior to placing a hidden camera in your loved one’s room, review all of your legal options with your attorney first. Your lawyer will be able to help you protect your loved one from abuse and file a claim against the negligent parties.

At Zimmet & Zimmet, our nursing home abuse lawyers have the resources and the experience to tackle these types of emotional and delicate cases. Contact us today at 386-255-6400 for a free initial consultation and review of your case.

For More Information:

What You Need to Know About Nursing Home Abuse in Florida

The True Cost of Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing Home Abuse in Florida

What You Need to Know About Nursing Home Abuse in Florida

Elder abuse is a serious issue across the United States. In fact, it’s estimated that as many as five million senior citizens are abused each year. Many cases go unreported, since many people in this vulnerable demographic have limited access to outside help and resources, and victims often worry that reporting the abuse or neglect may lead to even worse conditions. Sadly, several reports have found that only 1 in 14 cases is ever reported.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing Home Abuse in FloridaIt’s essential that family members and loved ones advocate for elderly friends and family members by frequently visiting them. This allows you to monitor changes in their condition, as well as spot the early warning signs of abuse.

Since many are too frightened to talk about what’s happening to them, be mindful of the following telltale signs:

  • Physical Abuse, including unexplained bruises, pressure marks, scrapes, and burns
  • Neglect, including poor hygiene, untreated or ignored medical conditions, weight loss, and bedsores
  • Verbal and Emotional Abuse, including sudden changes in personality or demeanor, a decrease in contact with loved ones, and withdrawal from activities and relationships

While it’s true that these signs aren’t always indicative of abuse or neglect, they are cause for further investigation and discussion.

Nursing Home Abuse Reports in Florida

Cameras are not currently required in Florida nursing homes, but some families have started placing hidden cameras in loved ones’ rooms to support suspicions of abuse. Proof of abuse makes it impossible for administrators to ignore or deny a problem, which allows residents and their family members to seek justice.

Recordings taken in a Pompano Beach nursing home show a nursing assistant abusing a victim with dementia. The video shows the nursing assistant hitting the man on the head, dousing him with mouthwash, and throwing him into a chair. In Boynton Beach, nursing home employees were charged after they restrained a resident with duct tape and then used it to cover her mouth.

Getting Justice for Victims of Abuse

Navigating a nursing home abuse case can be challenging, since administrators often try to:

  • Cover up instances of abuse
  • Handle issues internally
  • Flat-out deny a family’s allegations

A lawyer with specialized experience in elder abuse is the best way to get answers and seek justice for victims.

Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer Today 

As the elderly population of Florida continues to increase, more and more people are moving into nursing homes and assisted care facilities. Residents deserve thoughtful and appropriate care. If someone in your life has been the victim of nursing home abuse, call Zimmet & Zimmet today at (386) 210-9629.

For More Information:

When Sunburn Turns into Florida Nursing Home Abuse

Why Are Nursing Home Arbitration Agreements So Bad?

The True Cost of Nursing Home Abuse

True Cost of Nursing Home AbusePlacing a loved one in a nursing home is fraught with difficulties, and it can be hard to accept that an aging family member needs more care than you alone are able to provide. This decision is made evenharder by fears that your loved one may receive inferior or, at worst, abusive care in your absence. On top of the emotional toll that nursing home abuse can take on the elderly and their families, other unforeseen expenses can accrue.

Nursing Home Abuse Costs

The true costs of nursing home abuse are much higher than many people realize.  Because these cases are so difficult, many victims and their families will seek the advice of a lawyer when trying to quantify these costs.

When seeking to recover damages after discovering that your loved one has been a victim of abuse, your attorney will try to reach a settlement that covers the costs associated with a variety of non-economic and economic expenses, including:

  • Moving Expenses, such as expenses related to relocating your loved one’s belongings and moving them into a safer environment.
  • In-Home Care.  After a loved one has suffered nursing home abuse, many families are reluctant to place them back into a similar type of facility. Instead, they decide to shoulder the high costs associated with hiring a home care nurse and purchasing in-home medical equipment.
  • Medical Treatment– Abused seniors may require long hospital stays and ongoing care because of injuries sustained as a result of the abuse and neglect they endured. This can result in substantial medical expenses that can financially overwhelm already struggling families.
  • Therapy– Abused seniors may suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and other psychological traumas, which can result in months or even years of therapy and psychological treatment.
  • Legal Costs –There are costs associated with filing lawsuits and working with an attorney. Any settlement you are offered should compensate for any and all legal costs you incur.
  • Secondary Expenses– While you are dealing with the fallout of nursing home abuse, you and your family members may need to take time off of work to care for your loved one. You may be responsible for driving to and from hospitals, doctors offices, and law firms, resulting in lost income and vehicle-related expenses.

Protecting Abused Seniors and Families Throughout Florida

At Zimmet & Zimmet, nursing home abuse attorneys have the resources and experience needed to tackle these types of complex cases. Our attorneys will help protect your loved one from further abuse, as well as hold negligent institutions responsible for their actions. Our lawyers have considerable experience helping elderly clients and their families in the Volusia and Flager County areas to recover damages in nursing home abuse cases. Contact us at (386) 210-9658 today for a free consultation and review of your case.

When Sunburn Turns into Florida Nursing Home Abuse

According to the Palm Beach Post, a nursing home abuse lawsuit was recently filed against Lakeside Health Center for errors in supervision that led to the death of a 98-year-old woman. Last May, Eva Mae Rhodes was brought into St. Mary’s Medical Center with a core temperature of 103.2, heat stroke, severe dehydration, and second degree burns on a large portion of her body.

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