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Can security cameras make Illinois nursing homes safer?

Many elderly and chronically ill patients are admitted to Illinois nursing homes for prolonged care each year. Sadly, residents in nursing homes are sometimes abused or neglected by the nursing home staff. Nursing home abuse may include physical abuse as well as sexual abuse. It can lead to psychological and emotional trauma and long-term damage. In 2013 alone, the Illinois Department of Public Health determined that 106 allegations of nursing home abuse and neglect were valid.

Several nursing home staff members have been accused of threatening their patients and being negligent. Not properly taking care of the nursing home residents can aggravate the already-poor conditions as well as leading to greater physical and mental illnesses for the residents. Under Illinois law, the victims of nursing home abuse have the right to initiate a lawsuit against such abusive facilities and staff members.

A new bill approved by the Illinois General Assembly would allow surveillance cameras in the residents' rooms in nursing homes. The bill is currently awaiting Governor Rauner's signature. Authorities believe that this move would create greater accountability on the part of the nursing home staff because they would be monitored regularly. Additionally, family members of nursing home residents may also be relieved to know about the presence of surveillance cameras. Residents and any roommates would have to consent to the installation of surveillance cameras in their rooms. The law would also dictate that no nursing home could unfairly punish the resident who chooses to have cameras installed.

One of the major problems in cases of nursing home abuse is that victims often do not report the abuse. Some residents don't have family members or friends who visit them regularly, reducing the opportunity to let others know about the abuse. Loved ones and friends who do come to visit the patients are advised to check for any abnormal behavior and any complaints of pains or illnesses which may be signs of possible nursing home abuse.

Source:, "Bill would allow cameras in Illinois nursing homes," July 3, 2015

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