Surveillance Video Records Abuse In Nursing Home
Mike Lamont is a private investigator who has seen a lot of bad things throughout his career. He’s used sleuth devices such as GPS tracking systems to catch cheating spouses, computer technology to fight identity theft and camera systems for various observation purposes. Therefore, he was not surprised when a client contacted him to ask about covertly hiding a video recording camera in a nursing home. The reason: the woman believed that her elderly grandfather over 100-years-old was being abused by health care employees. She knew her grandfather was in a weak physical condition and frail state of mind, making it likely impossible for him to report the abuse himself. Lamont agreed to assist the woman and find out what was really going on inside the nursing home.
Lamont, like most private investigators, calls upon the latest technological tools available to conduct surveillance. These items include hidden camera systems disguised as ordinary items commonly found inside the house such as clocks, pens, and stuffed animals. However, conducting such investigations with camera devices in a nursing home requires walking a very fine line to ensure employees and fellow residents aren’t having privacy rights violated. This is critical because if somewhere along the way laws were broken the video evidence could be deemed not admissible. After working closely with police authorities and legal consultants Lamont was able to gather video data showing an employee at Mount Pleasant Manor belittling and physically hitting the elderly man as he laid in his bed. The video evidence led to that employee being arrested.
Video recordings showed the senior being poked and shook violently. The senior even made attempts to defend himself with a telephone, electric razor and a cup of water, but was far to weak to fight against Deasmond Kimbrough, the caregiver who is now facing charged of abusing a vulnerable adult.
When the video recordings showing senior abuse began making local, state and eventually national headlines, influential people began discussing the importance of video monitoring technology to enhance senior safety. In fact, one state senator was so impressed by Lamont’s investigative work that he introduced a bill that would allow families to use any type of electronic monitoring technology to judge the quality of care senior loved ones were receiving. The senator hopes such legal measures would not only scare potential abusers but also make it easier for families to catch such violators. This new bill would dramatically change the language and requirements for electronic monitoring by only requiring permission from the person/resident being recorded or from their legal representative if the senior is unable to make decisions for themselves.
Such legislation was talked about in past years in the state of South Carolina, only to fall by the wayside due to some believing that the law would empower lawyers to sue nursing homes for merit-less reasons. Sadly, no one knows how many undocumented cases of senior abuse could have been prevented if lawmakers listened to families instead of lobbyists.
Lamont has stated that he has received requests for electronic monitoring (elderly GPS trackers) and video equipment more frequently, as families seek to observe how senior loved ones are being treated and cared for. To be certain he does not violate privacy laws Lamont does not use camera systems that record sound when monitoring inside of a nursing home. He also said that many seniors will have roommates and in order to protect the privacy of the roommate, he positions the camera in a way so it only records where the senior in question is being monitored.