Big Brother is watching

Stories - Security CameraI am a staunch defender of privacy rights, especially in healthcare settings.  I, like most Americans, don’t like Big Brother.

I dislike cameras on public street corners and despise the NSA illegally searching private computers, but I think we should consider allowing cameras in private rooms in skilled nursing facilities.

I recently came across some disturbing footage of elder abuse. After watching this abuse on tape, it made me sick.

In one segment of footage, a nursing assistant stuffed an elderly patient’s mouth full with latex gloves, pressed on her chest, and placed her in bed, resulting in her death.

In another piece of footage, an elderly woman was punched, knocked around, and roughly mishandled.

The abuse, again, resulted in death.  Thankfully, both nursing assistants were caught on tape and are now in jail or awaiting trial.

“I think elder abuse is rampant, especially in skilled nursing facilities dedicated to the poor and disenfranchised.”

At the beginning of my healthcare career, I worked as a nursing assistant in a skilled nursing facility.

Unfortunately, I witnessed a fellow nursing assistant abuse a patient, which resulted in her termination. I think elder abuse is rampant, especially in skilled nursing facilities dedicated to the poor and disenfranchised.

As Medicare and Medicaid repayment for services dwindle, skilled nursing facilities must tighten their budgets, leading to lower wages for skilled workers, brain drain, and overall bad healthcare for some of our most vulnerable patients.

In some states, personal cameras can be placed in private rooms, but most states allow long-term care facilities to legally dismantle them or move the patient.

Most long-term care facilities dislike the cameras, they say, because of the infringement of privacy, even though the patient and/or family request them and submit waivers.

I think this argument is just nonsense.  The reason, as we all know, is CYA.

We play defensive healthcare in this country, resulting in half-truths, lies, and ineffectual policy.  It is, unfortunately, a legal conundrum, permitting anyone and everyone to sue anyone and everyone for suspected misconduct.

I understand we must have the right to legally hold people accountable for misconduct, but it paradoxically prevents quality care.

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