A friend tried to lure me into a trip to Vegas by emailing me a link to a live video camera mounted poolside at a swank hotel. Did it work? No, my wife is still not so understanding when it comes to guys weekends in ‘sin city’. Nonetheless, the video camera did give me a glimpse of the glamorous life to be had thousands of miles away—in a place I may not see for a long time.
Use of video cameras has come a long way since the days when they were used exclusively capture a baby’s first steps or for submission on America’s Funniest Home Videos. Today, video cameras and internet-based streaming videos can help relieve some of the inherent stress created by the physical distance between loved ones. That is, unless the loved one lives in one of the thousands of nursing homes still failing to accept new technology and a new expectation of openness.
What is the hesitancy of nursing homes to embrace not just video technology, but also a spirit of openness? Is it fear that the public may condemn these facilities once they become aware that they may be providing inferior care or allowing a culture of abuse and neglect to persist?
Add another proponent of video surveillance to the mix. Oklahoma District Attorney, David Prater, publicly said in a recent hearing that he supports the use of video cameras not just in the public areas of nursing homes, but also in individual patient rooms. “If they’re above-board and fully staff and take care of the residents, what to they have to hide?” Prater asked during a hearing on nursing home care. “I would think they would offer that option to the residents,” he added.
Not surprisingly, the executive direct of the Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers, Becky Moore, felt that placing cameras within each residents room was unnecessary and created a privacy violation. “Most of our personal care is at bedside, and residents don’t want people taking pictures of their personal care,” Moore added.
Has Moore ever considered that many nursing home residents are disabled and rarely leave the confines of their bed? What about the fact that many of the friends and family who may be watching the video probably provided care for this individual?
No longer, can nursing homes argue that the technology is insufficient to provide video surveillance in the nursing home setting. I assume that until nursing home administrators learn to embrace a culture of openness at their facilities we will not see the use of video cameras on a widespread basis.
Demand the use of video cameras in nursing homes. If I can use video technology to ‘check-in’ on the scantily clad young ladies sitting poolside, why in the world should a family member be told that they can’t view their loved one as they sleep, eat, or receive ‘personal care’? There’s just no reason not to.
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