Is it Legal to Use a Nanny Cam in a Nursing Home?

By Jessica Drew
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A nanny cam is a small, hidden spy camera that many parents install in their own homes to monitor the hired nanny while they are away at work. A nanny cam is the only surefire way for parents to make sure their children are well cared for when they are away from home and that a chronic, abusive situation never happens. Wireless cameras provide parents with all the peace of mind they need and nanny cams are, for the most part entirely legal. Because parents are installing the cameras in their own home, the laws in all 50 states support the right to record footage of anything that goes on at private residences.

Some states have additional compliance laws that strictly enforce national eavesdropping and wiretapping laws, so parents in some states will have to use cameras without audio or with the audio function disabled. However, that’s really the only limitation.

So what about a hidden camera in a nursing home? With the baby boomer population continuing to age, many concerned, grown children are making the decision to place their elderly parent or parents into a nursing home. Often this decision is out of necessity; grown children simply do not have the time, because of a hectic work schedule, to provide round the clock care to their parents. Elderly parents often need this level of care, especially if they are dealing with a debilitating illness. So a nursing home is the only solution for many elderly people; however, the statistics on nursing home abuse are alarming. Experts believe that for every case of nursing home abuse that occurs there are five more that go unreported. There are also many more instances of neglect that are never discovered by a patient’s loved ones. So what’s a concerned loved one to do? Many people are proponents of hidden cameras in nursing homes, but are they legal? The answer varies greatly by state, but placing cameras in a nursing home, in general, does raise several legal issues.

Are Nanny Cams in Nursing Homes Legal?

Loved ones of nursing home patients cannot place secret cameras in a room without permission or consent. Even though you’d be monitoring your loved one, a nursing home is not your property, and this action can have tough legal consequences, jail time included, depending on the state.

However, let’s say you’d like place your parent or loved one in a nursing home whose policy is to use hidden cameras to monitor all their staff and patients. These types of facilities are few and far between for a couple of reasons. First of all, again depending on the state, companies can get into trouble for recording employees without their consent. Secondly, a facility like this would definitely need consent of the patient to be recorded. Since nursing home patients undress, use the bathroom and bathe in their rooms, many patients do not want to be recorded. Also, not all patients in nursing homes are of sound mind and body to give their consent to be recorded. However, nursing homes with cameras in common areas are much more common and usually not the cause of legal issue.

If you truly suspect abuse is happening in your loved one’s nursing facility, then your best option is to talk directly with management. They can often get to the bottom of a situation without hidden cameras, or use their authority to put hidden cameras in common areas or in your loved ones room to catch abuse happening, if this action is critical.

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