Many families want to know how to install cameras after detecting suspicious signs, such as sudden mood swings or unexplained bruising, said Cheryl Hennen, state long-term care ombudsman. is that the use of cameras can be a deterrent,” Hennen said.“If someone realizes there is camera surveillance, it may stifle the urge to abuse.” Mother looked gaunt For Jean Peters and her sister Kay, the decision to install a video camera in their mother Jackie’s room was a last-ditch step for a family that suspected lapses in their mother’s care.“There were a lot of little things that just didn’t seem right,” Bromelkamp said.
In a case last month, footage showed an aide at a Hopkins residence striking an elderly patient on the head with an elbow and a hair brush.
Video () : After the hidden cameras led to charges in two recent cases, the state's ombudsman for long-term care has received at least one call a day from concerned relatives. Jean Peters felt a wave of anxiety sweep over her as she watched video footage of her frail, 85-year-old mother being ridiculed by a nursing aide at York Gardens senior home in Edina. “That is why I am so rough with you.” Now, nearly two years after catching the incident on video, Peters and her sister Kay Bromelkamp have become zealous proponents of using miniature cameras to catch abuse in senior homes.
The female aide can be heard repeatedly chastising the elderly woman, twice calling her a “grown-ass adult” as she tugged on her clothing and yanked at her bra. The cameras, which cost as little as $80 and can fit inside a teddy bear or potted plant, have surged in popularity despite privacy concerns and calls for more regulation.
Peters said she was shocked one morning to witness two angry employees at York Gardens screaming at each other within sight of elderly residents gathered for breakfast.
When she complained, administrators seemed more concerned about identifying who had been yelling rather than over the effect on vulnerable residents, Peters said.
“We never dreamed we would find what we found,” said Peters, a nurse practitioner. There was the sudden and unexplained drop in their mother’s weight, from 105 pounds to 94 pounds, which made her already-slight frame look gaunt and emaciated, the sisters said.
There were the mornings that Jackie, who suffered from vascular dementia, looked unbathed and complained of soreness in her arms.
Months earlier, an employee at a New Hope nursing home was caught on tape throwing a towel at the face of a bedridden dementia patient; the camera also caught staff talking on cellphones when they were supposed to be caring for patients, according to police reports.
Since the last case surfaced, the state’s ombudsman for long-term care has received at least one call a day from concerned relatives.