Is it really necessary to put a hidden camera in your loved one’s room at the nursing home? If you suspect abuse, it might be the smartest thing you can do.

So-called “granny cams” have become a hot topic throughout the nation as people have gradually become more aware of the horrors of nursing home abuse. A recent case in Texas is once again shining a light on the problem after a daughter placed hidden cameras in her 93-year-old mother’s room. The cameras caught shocking incidents of violence from one of her caretakers, including at least one incident where fecal matter was shoved into the elderly woman’s mouth.

Texas is one of the few states that grants nursing home residents and their representatives the clear right to install electronic monitoring devices in a patient’s room. You just have to follow certain rules:

  • The nursing home has to be given prior notice that you intend to put a camera in the room. By law, the nursing home cannot refuse you this right — nor discriminate against your senior because of it (and can be fined for trying to interfere with your rights).
  • You must pay for the installation, maintenance, repairs and eventual removal of the recording device, but the nursing home must make reasonable accommodations (such as providing a secure place to mount your device and access to a power source).
  • If you intend to use the recording as evidence of abuse or neglect in court, it must include date and time stamps and cannot be edited, enhanced, altered or transferred from its original format (unless the transfer is done by a qualified person).
  • You must place a conspicuous note in the room saying that there is electronic monitoring going on.

If your senior was abused or neglected in a nursing home, get compassionate, experienced legal advice about your rights. You can hold the guilty party accountable.