In 2011, two male nurses were caught on video neglecting their 98-year-old female patient in San Diego. The men were charged in 2013 with nine criminal offenses including neglect and committing a felony lewd act. The nursing licenses of both men were revoked but the damage was already done.
Key to the charges is the video that recorded their abuse of the woman who had hired them after suffering a stroke. Family members, suspecting something was wrong, reviewed video from a surveillance system installed in the house prior to the incident.
In a recent survey by a non-profit organization, California earned a C grade on federal markers for quality nursing care. According to the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF), one of every five Americans will be over age 65 in 2040. Poor care and a burgeoning senior population means an increased risk of injury and premature death due to elder abuse.
Such abuse and neglect is often a secret crime, known only to the victim and perpetrator. Common forms of elder abuse include:
- Neglect leading to improper hygiene, nutrition and wounds such as pressure sores
- Sexual, emotional and physical abuse
- Financial abuse, exploitation and theft
There is no substitute for high quality nursing care and compassion. California nursing homes often do not measure up. Ethical and legal concerns enter the picture when concerned family members use in-room cameras.
In-room surveillance — an intrusion or a safeguard? Is it legal? If you have questions about elder abuse or suspect a loved one is being neglected in a California nursing facility, seek experienced legal advice.