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New law allows cameras in nursing homes

There is a silent epidemic on the rise in cities across the United States. It is an insidious killer that is rarely detected by inspectors, law enforcement or coroner's reports. It is the thousands of elderly residents of nursing home being quietly killed and disposed of as victims of premature death that, in many cases, could have been prevented.

One son bereaved the last memory of his mother who died just a couple of months ago in spite of her son's efforts to save her life.

When her son and other family members noticed suspicious marks and bruises on the elderly woman, they realized she had bed sores and a change in attitude. After placing a surveillance camera in her room, horrible behavior was observed. The camera had captured terrible abuse on the part of the nursing home staff. When the son confronted a staff member, they threatened to throw his mother out if he didn't remove the camera.

The district attorney is now prosecuting members of the staff, but the new law has been considered a landmark victory in the improvement of nursing home care. The Protect Our Loved One's Act recently took effect and should affect similar situations to other nursing home victims.

The law has been a welcome change, especially in the state of Illinois, that had previously documented nursing home fatalities based on dehydration, malnutrition and bed sores. Now the new law allows the elderly to have some humane treatment in their final hours. It provides the opportunity to improve the safety of residents, as well as improve the quality of their care.

Nursing home abuse, along with underreported suffering, represents an abhorrent lack of respect for human life. With new laws like this, there is hope for avoidable premature deaths of our elderly loved ones.

Source:, "Senior advocates celebrate nursing home victory" Bree Steffen, Nov. 03, 2013

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