ESTHER’S LAW- Are cameras the answer to combating nursing home abuse? 

Ohio nursing home residents and their families can now request that a camera be placed in their room. The law requires that long-term care facilities allow residents, their guardian, or their attorney to install a monitoring device (audio or video) in a patient’s room.  Residents or guardians are responsible for paying their own monitoring devices under the law.  Facilities are only required to provide the electricity to operate the cameras.  

Facilities may require forms to be filled out to use a camera, and consent is needed for residents who live with other residents. In cases where a roommate does not consent, the law says that the facility needs to make reasonable accommodations, such as moving the resident to another room with someone who does consent, or putting conditions on what is recorded, whether that be limiting sound or only having the camera on the resident. 

Under the law, facilities may require signage indicating that recording is in place. They may not discriminate against residents who wish to install a camera. 

The law stems from a 2011 criminal case wherein a nursing home aide pleaded guilty to 7 felony counts of gross patient abuse against a then 78-year-old resident with Alzheimer’s named Esther Piskor and was sentenced to 10 years; another aide pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault.  Esther’s law only applies to nursing homes, leaving the potential for additional legislation to address abuse in assisted living facilities and other long term care homes.  

Critics of the bill raise privacy and access concerns.  Nursing home residents are often in vulnerable positions or dealing with difficult comorbidities that make being filmed uncomfortable.  Costs can also be an impediment for some residents or their guardians, raising the question of access and the equal provision of nursing home care across a variety of socioeconomic conditions.

Ohio joins a handful of other states that allow the placement of cameras in nursing home rooms, including Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington.   The real question is, will more states follow?

When it comes to the provision of basic custodial care, such as providing food and water, timely repositioning and turning to prevent the development of bedsores (also commonly referred to as pressure injuries or ulcers), cameras can provide an accurate record of whether the nursing home is providing the care each resident requires to maintain their dignity and health, rather than relying on each resident’s medical chart, which many times does not reflect the actual care the nursing home is failing to provide.  Many times, it takes an experienced attorney to understand the extent of a nursing home’s failings- the area of law is complex.  

Bedsore.Law offers representation to victims of nursing home abuse who suffered from bedsores, and leaves no stone unturned in our pursuit against abusive nursing homes in Ohio and across the country.   

Our founding partners have over 35 years of combined experience holding nursing homes accountable for causing painful and dangerous Stage III and IV bedsores- it’s what we specialize in. If you or your loved one suffered from a bedsore in a nursing home, contact us to discuss your options. There are time-sensitive issues that could bar your claim if you wait.

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Source: https://www.cantonrep.com/story/news/healthcare/2022/03/23/esther-piskor-law-nursing-home-monitoring-devices/9425131002/

Click here for the language of the Bill: https://drive.google.com/viewerng/viewer?url=http://search-prod.lis.state.oh.us/solarapi/v1/general_assembly_134/bills/sb58/EN/05/sb58_05_EN?format%3Dpdf

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