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Will Privacy Trump a Families’ Right to Protect Their Loved Ones in Nursing Homes?

Will Privacy Trump a Families' Right to Protect Their Loved Ones in Nursing Homes?The family members of a 96-year-old woman, who has since passed away, witnessed nursing home abuse from aides of the elderly woman after they caught staff members on camera. The Oklahoma Department of Health reported that the nursing home was supposed to investigate the abuse that happened in April 2012, but the family has not seen the results of that investigation.

Abuse Caught on Camera

The woman’s daughter hid a camera inside her mother’s room because she believed that staff or others at the facility were taking her things. She expressed her surprise at what was happening at the home. In one incident, two staff members shoved rubber gloves into the woman’s mouth, and another aide seemed to push her head.

State Oversight by Government Agencies

One of the daughters expressed her opinion that her mother’s abuse had not been properly investigated. The Oklahoma Department of Health made a statement related to the accusations and said they refused to tolerate any neglect or abuse of nursing home patients. The organization has given out 20 citations to facilities for failing to protect patients from nursing home abuse since May 2009. The ODH and the Oklahoma State Department of Health revamped regulations in 2007 by ordering all nursing homes to report any suspected crime to the authorities. The facility complied with the requirements and contacted the police. The nursing home also filed a report related to how they addressed the situation with OSDH at the time of the incident. Police decided that the individuals were responsible for their criminal actions. Two staff members were taken into custody; one was convicted and incarcerated. Between July 2011 and June 2012, the OSDH listed 7,603 violations against elderly care facilities and took action against these facilities 404 times because of violations. As of June 2012, the state oversaw 318 licensed facilities.

Daughters’ Counsel to Others with Relatives in Nursing Homes

The woman’s daughters indicated they believed the problem is more prevalent than previously thought. They think there are more victims than initially reported. They also encouraged people to closely watch for any signs of abuse in loved ones.

Senate Bill Could Modify Privacy Laws for Nursing Homes

Senate Bill 587 in the Oklahoma legislature would permit nursing-home patients to have cameras in their rooms. However, an amendment could punish any unauthorized cameras. The woman’s daughters support the Bill.

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