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Webcams in Nursing Homes?

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traumaRUs has 27 years experience as a MSN, APRN, CNS and specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

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Are Webcams the Wave of the Future?

As our population ages, our older and frailer population increases too. What's a family to do to ensure their family members are cared for in a compassionate and caring manner?

Webcams in Nursing Homes?

What happens when your parents get older and can no longer care for themselves? What happens if a catastrophic event occurs? They fall, break a hip and can't go back to their previous living arrangement? Yikes! What do you do?

Okay, so you have decided or already have a family member living at a nursing home. You've looked at several nursing homes and chosen one and have moved in. How do you make sure that they are safe even when you can't be there? 

Families are resorting to the use of webcams to watch when they can't be present. Here's a story from Minnesota about one women's fight to ensure that she KNEW what was going on with her Mom. When her Mother developed a blister that no one knew about and when she saw a puddle of urine below her Mom's wheelchair, the daughter took action and installed a webcam in her room. "To her surprise, staff at the nursing home objected — even covering the camera with a towel on some occasions or unplugging it. Eventually the family filed a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Health, and even though the home said it tried to resolve the dispute, the agency last week issued a far-reaching ruling in favor of the family.

The maltreatment finding is significant because it is considered the first of its kind to affirm, in clear language, the right of a Minnesota senior home resident to use a camera in a private room without fear of harassment."

Other families in Minnesota report they have faced intimidation and objections from nursing home staff when webcams are installed. "State law is murky on the matter, even as hidden camera footage has become increasingly useful for law enforcement officers and regulators investigating allegations of criminal abuse." In one instance the resident was asked each time a staff member came into the room to turn off the webcam. However, the resident made it clear that it made her feel safe and she declined to deactivate it. They would then state to her that they would have to move her to a different room. State investigators found that after the webcam was installed, staff entered her room less often and engages in less conversation when compared to before the camera was installed. 

So, is this a violation of staff rights? Apparently not as the state sided with the family. What if this is a semi-private room and a roommate is accidentally filmed? What rights do they have? 

Why do families feel the need to install webcams? Would more staffing and more open and honest communication resolve issues before this became necessary? 

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse; "As of 2017, Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Washington have laws that permit the installation of cameras in residents’ rooms, if the resident and roommate have consented. Each state law addresses issues including consent, and who can provide it; notice requirements, including who must be notified of the camera in use and placement of notices; assumption of costs associated with the cameras; penalties for obstruction or tampering with the cameras; and access to the recordings. While not having a law in place, Maryland has issued guidelines for the use of cameras in nursing home residents’ rooms; and New Jersey’s Office of Attorney General will loan camera equipment to families who want to monitor their loved one’s care."

Do you have experience with webcams in healthcare settings? As staff? As a concerned family member?

166 Articles; 191,247 Profile Views; 21,045 Posts

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TheMoonisMyLantern has 12 years experience as a ADN, LPN, RN and specializes in Mental health, substance abuse, geriatrics, PCU.

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My issue is that this would be used as a tool to scrutinize the nursing staff even farther than they currently are. Instead of surveillance, I think providing enough workers to get the job done would be a higher priority, otherwise the staff are being set up to fail. Imagine the resident's daughter accusing you of elder abuse because it took you ten minutes to get a fresh water pitcher. 

Edited by TheMoonisMyLantern
typo

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1 Follower; 3,192 Posts; 45,062 Profile Views

My grandson is special needs and has care givers. His mom mentioned the idea of a web cam in their home. She said if you don't trust the care givers, think you need a web cam, you need to hire different care givers. 

I understand that, but we see horrible videos on the Internet of abuses!

I don't know what I'd do.

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205 Posts; 2,786 Profile Views

I always act as if I’m being filmed.

One of our residents has a camera.  I smile and wave at it.

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traumaRUs has 27 years experience as a MSN, APRN, CNS and specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

166 Articles; 21,045 Posts; 191,247 Profile Views

3 hours ago, TheMoonisMyLantern said:

My issue is that this would be used as a tool to scrutinize the nursing staff even farther than they currently are. Instead of surveillance, I think providing enough workers to get the job done would be a higher priority, otherwise the staff are being set up to fail. Imagine the resident's daughter accusing you of elder abuse because it took you ten minutes to get a fresh water pitcher. 

Agree - and I think that staffing is the root of this issue. 

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traumaRUs has 27 years experience as a MSN, APRN, CNS and specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

166 Articles; 21,045 Posts; 191,247 Profile Views

3 hours ago, brownbook said:

My grandson is special needs and has care givers. His mom mentioned the idea of a web cam in their home. She said if you don't trust the care givers, think you need a web cam, you need to hire different care givers. 

I understand that, but we see horrible videos on the Internet of abuses!

I don't know what I'd do.

Its actually fairly common in my area for home care pts to have webcams in their homes. My grand-daughter was supposed to come home with trach/g-tube, oxygen, etc., and when we were looking for home care staff, we specifically asked if there was objection to the use of a webcam? 

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Birdbr has 5 years experience and specializes in Long Term Care; Skilled Nursing.

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As a a former CNA in a SNF working on a memory care unit, I struggle with the webcam implementation a lot.  Presently, I'm a Social Services Director at a SNF, I'm not okay with this.  I 100% want residents to be protected, but I don't think cameras are the answer. 

I feel that these cameras infringe on the privacy of all residents-- especially those with dementia.  We are aware that residents with cognitive issues wander and unfortunately, they may wander into others' rooms; sometimes they may even disrobe unfortunately or engage in other things that may be embarrassing for them.  Should somebody's family/friend be able to see that?  Where's the dignity in that?

Additionally, as someone else pointed out; What about those residents in semi-private rooms?  Are they not allowed privacy.  We know that it is challenging enough for many to have a roommate-- so now they get even less privacy?  

At the end of the day, and I hate to say this, but if you don't trust the facility/staff that your loved one is in, I would suggest looking elsewhere for placement.  

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NICU Guy has 4 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in NICU.

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We have NICview available for 75% of our patients (NICU environment, not SNF). Parents who sign up get a computer generated username (color animal number, ex. PurplePanda16)) and a password. Camera is always on, except during patient care. It reduces the frequencies of phone calls about the status of their baby, but there are the occasional "the pacifier is out of his mouth, can you put it back in". Camera is focused exclusively on the baby and not the environment.

Edited by NICU Guy

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JadedCPN has 13 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU.

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20 minutes ago, NICU Guy said:

We have NICview available for 75% of our patients (NICU environment, not SNF). Parents who sign up get a computer generated username (color animal number, ex. PurplePanda16)) and a password. Camera is always on, except during patient care. It reduces the frequencies of phone calls about the status of their baby, but there are the occasional "the pacifier is out of his mouth, can you put it back in". Camera is focused exclusively on the baby and not the environment.

This. I was going to comment pretty much the same thing, being as my experience is only pediatric/neonatal. Every NICU I've floated to has had these type of cameras installed and overall it has been a positive experience. It does appear to take caregivers just a little bit to adjust to the idea of it, but once you get used to it you realize it is helpful in reducing the number of repetitive calls. I encountered a few instances where the family called to complain about the baby not being swaddled "good enough" or the baby crying, but overall I believe it was more of an asset than a negative. 

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I fully support webcams.  In fact, I think they should be put in place by the facility, especially for children, and the cognitively impaired. These populations are very vulnerable and are at the mercy of their caregivers, and most often don’t have the ability to express themselves.  I’ve worked in a nursing home where many of the CNAs were undereducated, underemployed, mean, bitter, and resentful.

If we are doing our jobs as we ought, what difference does it make if cameras record care?  There are cameras all over the facilities we work in  so why object to them being in a patient’s room?  With all the videos surfacing of mistreatment of vulnerable patient populations there is clearly a need for increased surveillance.

NICU parents watching the video and calling to direct care should be forbidden and instead directed to have a family member or friend sit with the patient around the clock.

Edited by Queen Tiye

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I see this two ways. A room in these facilities constitutes a person's home. To the extent that they can have a camera on themselves without violating other residents' rights in their homes, they should be allowed to do so.

OTOH, I do have a problem with the idea of filming the work of the employees when so very much of what they are able to do or not do is dictated by someone else. Even the amount of time that they have to spend with a resident is dictated by constraints that are far, far out of their control. If the argument is that their work directly affects the residents and therefore is "fair game," then the conference and board rooms could also be fair game--with far greater effect toward the overall good. I honestly don't know why we don't wise up as a society and start demanding serious accountability from the people who control the resources, instead of attempting to pick apart individual people who look like the problem but are not the problem--those who have zero control over the resources.

 

2 hours ago, Queen Tiye said:

If we are doing our jobs as we ought, what difference does it make if cameras record care?

I have never understood this line of thinking. It just isn't reality.  If it were, no one would ever have a story made up about them or a lie told or a misperception reported or an exaggerated complaint leveled. That isn't even to mention the human factor and the idea that people are not perfect and essentially no one deserves to have their non-abusive/non-problematic imperfections scrutinized for someone else's heavy-handed purposes.

I might feel differently if LTC workers had adequate power/resources to work through (defend) relatively minor complaints leveled against them instead of just preparing to be terminated -- but they have no power so it's completely moot.

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4 Followers; 1,480 Posts; 7,330 Profile Views

I can see both sides.

A concerned family member placed a camera in the room of one of my LTC patients.

On film was the image of a nurse entering the room with a cup of pills, then fishing one of the pills out of the cup.

Probably not the synthroid.

In today's world, if you are in a public place, you have to assume you are on camera.

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