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House bill aims to protect nursing home patients

One Ohio state representative is co-sponsoring legislation he hopes will help to protect nursing home patients. House Bill 298 would give elderly patients in nursing homes the right to install recording devices to covertly monitor staff. Reports say that the representative was outraged after learning that nursing homes believed they could restrict patients from installing their own personal surveillance cameras in their rooms.

The legislation may be especially important to this representative because of a personal experience he had with nursing home neglect. According to reports, the representative's father went into septic shock as a result of dehydration after being placed in a nursing home. The representative believes that this occurred because the staff on duty were not giving his father water so that they could avoid having to change his clothing after he wet himself.

The recent legislation was also partly inspired by a case of nursing home neglect in Zanesville facility. In that case, authorities installed hidden cameras because of complaints received from patients. After an investigation, the nursing facility was shut down. Currently, covert surveillance systems can only be installed in Ohio if one person being monitored agrees to it, and some opponents of the new legislation believe that it is an invasion of privacy. Others, however, believe that the bill is necessary to protect vulnerable patients from mistreatment.

When a family suspects that an elderly relative is the victim of nursing home abuse, a lawyer may be able to help. To build a personal injury complaint, a lawyer may help the family to gather evidence of abuse through all legal means, and, after presenting this evidence in court, that lawyer may be able to help the family to seek compensation for the damages caused by the mistreatment their loved one has experienced.

Source: Cleveland.com, "New legislation would guarantee the right of nursing home patients to set up hidden cameras", Jeremy Pelzer, October 29, 2013

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