Not Your Typical Elder Law Firm

Can you install a “granny cam” in a California nursing home?

On Behalf of | Aug 29, 2021 | Elder Abuse |

We are seeing cameras used more frequently as a tool to provide accountability, from police officer body cams to nanny cams. As video monitoring gear prices continue to fall, more individuals may consider putting a camera in the room of a loved one who lives at a nursing home.

California law once only authorized individuals to install surveillance cameras to watch residents in public areas, such as corridors or dining halls. However, in 2015, the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) rolled out new rules allowing for the use of in-room cameras with a few restrictions. An increasing number of family members have used these cameras to hold health care facilities accountable for how they treat their elderly loved ones.

Concerns in-room cameras raise over privacy

The issue over allowing hidden recording devices in patients’ rooms was hotly debated, primarily over privacy concerns, before CDSS decided to allow it beginning in 2015. The current rule requires residents, or someone designated to operate on their behalf, to sign a release before any in-room cameras are utilized. The state’s Community Care Licensing Division must have this waiver registered with them and approve it before anyone can install cameras in a private patient area.

How hidden cameras shed light on elder abuse or neglect

Elder abuse or neglect in a long-term care facility can take many forms. It can be financially, sexually, physically or emotionally oriented. 

Hidden cameras that are lawfully placed in a resident’s room can serve as valuable evidence if you decide to pursue civil litigation or press criminal charges. You’ll want to follow all relevant laws before installing such cameras so that you don’t unnecessarily expose yourself to legal liability and to ensure that any concerning footage obtained holds up in a court of law.