Last month, the Speaker of New Jersey’s General Assembly introduced a bill which would amend nursing home laws in New Jersey. NJ Assembly Bill 3883 (A3883) was introduced by Vincent Prieto (D-32nd District of NJ). The 32nd District is located in Bergen and Hudson counties in North New Jersey.
A3883 would allow a nursing home resident to install video surveillance equipment in their room, provided they give advance notice to the nursing home.
The bill comes on the heels of some deeply disturbing reports of nursing home abuse and crime around the country. Earlier this year, a nursing home employee in Louisiana was allegedly caught in the act, raping a 78 year old resident. One nursing home operator in Washington was reportedly caught on camera sexually assaulting an 84 year old resident with dementia.
These crimes, if true, highlight a serious issue in nursing home care around the country, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The reality is that nursing home residents are oftentimes helpless and rely solely on those around them for care and comfort. Many residents are entirely unable to communicate at all, especially those with advanced stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s.
This bill is supported by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), but is opposed by nursing home operators and unions representing nursing home workers.
If passed, New Jersey would join a handful of states around the country that allow video recording in nursing home resident rooms, such as Maryland and Washington. The law currently being considered by the New Jersey legislature would address issues raised by those who oppose the use of video recordings in nursing homes.
One of the main points is the privacy of other residents who may not wish to be recorded. Privacy concerns for nursing home residents is of course, an important issue. However, the bill addresses those concerns appropriately. Residents who want to use in-room video recording would have to obtain consent of any roommates. If a roommate does not consent, the resident requesting use of video would have to be transferred to a new room. In addition, the proposed law would release New Jersey nursing homes of civil liability for any privacy violations related to video recording.
The purpose of the bill is to catch nursing home employees engaging in negligent or criminal behavior. Having video recording devices in residents’ rooms will certainly act as a deterrent.
Let’s face it, people such as caretakers who know they are being recorded are more inclined to act appropriately, at all times. In addition, the bill only applies to nursing homes and other long term care facilities. It doesn’t apply to hospitals. Given that nursing home residents are especially at risk of abuse and neglect, this law will certainly reduce cases of nursing home abuse/neglect in New Jersey. The pros of this bill absolutely outweigh the cons.
If you agree, please contact your local legislators and tell them that you care about nursing home abuse and neglect issues in NJ. Support A3883. Click here to find your NJ legislator based on city/town.
New Jersey Nursing Home Injury-Accident Lawyers
If you suspect that your loved one is being abused or suffering neglect in a nursing home in the New Jersey area, please call our office for a free consultation. Our nursing home injury lawyers specialize in these kinds of cases. (215) 985-0777
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