With incidences of nursing home neglect and abuse coming to light, several states, including Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and, more recently, Illinois, have passed laws allowing families to record resident care, and several other states have started their own surveillance pilots. However, in the absence of a state law in Iowa, residents and families can only use them if a nursing home administrator allows it.
Because most nursing homes in the state are privately owned businesses, there are legal barriers when it comes to hidden camera surveillance. However, many argue that the state has the right to investigate anything that could constitute patient abuse, neglect or Medicare fraud. A “covert search” via video recording devices should be included in that right if permission has been obtained from all residents and/or guardians where cameras record resident care activities.
Just last year, Illinois joined the ranks of states that allow families to install cameras in nursing home rooms. The legislation includes specifications for video, audio and still cameras in resident’s rooms and requires facilities to obtain consent from roommates if the installation of a camera is desired. Nursing homes must post signs notifying residents and visitors that rooms may be monitored so no one is caught off guard, eliminating privacy issues that many raise in opposition to camera surveillance in the first place.
Those who have family members receiving nursing home care are hoping to see Iowa come around too. Allowing nursing home residents to possess cameras offers a measure of protection for residents and provides families with peace of mind. After all, a resident’s room is essentially their home and whether they have cameras or not should not be decided by the facility. Many believe that state law should guarantee the right for residents and their families to make this important decision or better yet, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, who pay the bills for roughly 50 to 60 percent of the 1.4 million nursing home residents across the country, should clarify a nursing home residents right to have a camera in their room.
If you or a family member has been neglected or abused in an Iowa nursing home, contact Des Moines nursing home abuse attorney John T. Hemminger. At Hemminger Law Firm, we provide personalized, focused, dedicated legal service. To schedule a confidential, free initial consultation, call us today at 515-283-2116 or contact our offices online.
Most Iowans have elderly loved ones who, unfortunately, are sometimes vulnerable to nursing home abuse or neglect. In fact, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine states that 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 60 have been the victim of some form of abuse, which may include physical, emotional, financial or even sexual abuse. When a family member or friend is isolated in a nursing home setting, the potential for abuse only increases, so it is very important to stay in regular contact to make sure your family member is being well cared for.
Sometimes it is not obvious that abuse or neglect is occurring, so it is important to look for warning signs of nursing home neglect or abuse, which may include:
Research indicates that nursing home patients who are visited often by family, friends, and other loved ones are less likely to experience nursing home neglect or abuse. Being alert to signs of nursing home neglect, emotional distress, or changes in health and looking for problems such as understaffing or safety issues in the nursing home can play a critical role in elder patient care. Effective communication between family members and nursing home staff can help to prevent neglect and abuse from occurring.
Contact Experienced Iowa Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyers
If you suspect your loved one has been injured due to negligence in nursing home care or is being abused by a nursing home employee, contact an experienced Iowa nursing home attorney at Hemminger Law Firm in Des Moines, IA.
Drowsy Driving Can be Deadly
Unfortunately, people who drive with inadequate sleep can sometimes cause car accidents. A 2014 AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study estimates that over 300,000 car accidents in the U.S. involve a drowsy driver annually. Of these, as many as 20 percent involve a fatality.
Drowsy driving is difficult to detect. When a driver is stopped, police usually have to rely on an admission by the driver that sleep deprivation led to their erratic driving or even an accident. There is no sleep meter akin to a breathalyzer that can show someone was asleep behind the wheel.
States have been left with few options except to post catchy messages on highway boards, which many have seen displayed on Iowa highways, e.g.,“Sleep Deprived is No Way to Drive” or “Drowsy is Lousy, Rest is Best”. Other measures include raising awareness about drowsy driving through driver’s education courses and related materials to alert new drivers to the risk.
A few states have sought to criminalize drowsy driving that leads to a fatality, but again it is very hard to prove. Technology that detects drowsy driving is out there, but few cars are equipped with the so-called Driver Attention Systems that monitor the telltale signs of nodding off.
Recently, the potentially deadly problem of drowsy driving in Iowa prompted the Governors Highway Safety Association and the National Road Safety Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes safe driving, to distribute $15,000 grants to a handful of states, including Iowa, to create innovative drowsy driving prevention campaigns.
Iowa is taking the lead to put a stop to drowsy driving through public service announcements on television and social media, more highway message boards, and partnering with local supermarkets to include bag stuffers to spread the word about the dangers of drowsy driving.
A spokesman for the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau says the key is to “educate the public that this [drowsy driving] is a serious issue and that is causing fatalities in the state.” Hopefully, the efforts to raise awareness will make roads safer for Iowans and their families. The best advice is to get the sleep you need especially before heading out on the road.
Experienced Des Moines Car Accident Lawyers
If you or a family member has been injured in an Iowa car accident, contact the Experienced Des Moines Car Accident Lawyers of John T. Hemminger for immediate assistance. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries in cases where the negligence of another driver resulted in your injury. Call us at 515-283-2116 or contact us online.
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