Nursing Home Justice Blog

Are You Allowed to Put Cameras in a Nursing Home?

Written By:

Attorney Mac Hester

Date Posted:

December 15, 2022

When you suspect your loved one is being abused, you might be quick to try and prove it. You might feel tempted to place a camera in your loved one’s room to see whether they’re receiving the care they’re promised.

While you’re well within your right to report nursing home abuse, installing camera surveillance without consent could cause more harm than good. Knowing your state’s laws and regulations could help you avoid legal trouble and hold abusers accountable the right way.

What States Allow Cameras in Nursing Homes?

Given the rise in nursing home abuse over the years, many states have adopted laws permitting residents and their families to install cameras within occupied nursing home rooms to monitor staff members. The following states that allow cameras include:

  • Ohio
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • Missouri
  • Washington

Even states that don’t have specific laws permitting the use of cameras have provided rules and guidelines for residents and their families to follow to look out for signs of abuse. 

Is Audio & Video Surveillance Illegal in Colorado?

Since Colorado doesn’t make the list of states allowing cameras in nursing homes, residents and their loved ones must abide by the state’s privacy laws regarding audio and video surveillance outlined in the Colorado Criminal Code.

Audio Surveillance Laws 

18-9-304 states that anyone not visibly present during a conversation commits eavesdropping if the following is true:

  • They knowingly record a conversation without the consent of at least one person
  • They intentionally record a conversation to commit, aid, or abet the commission of an unlawful act
  • They knowingly use the recording for any purpose, disclose, or attempt to use or disclose the contents of the conversation
  • They knowingly aid, authorize, agree with, employ, permit, or intentionally conspire with anyone to violate the provisions of this section

This offense is a class 1 misdemeanor.

Video Surveillance Laws

Colorado refers to §18-7-801 for instances involving video surveillance. The law states that someone is guilty of criminal invasion of privacy when someone knowingly observes or takes a photograph of another person’s intimate parts without their consent.

This must have occurred when the person observed has a reasonable expectation of privacy. Criminal invasion of privacy is a class 2 misdemeanor.

What to Consider Before Attempting to Install a Camera

While you may feel entitled to placing a hidden camera in your or your loved one’s nursing home room, you should pay close attention to Colorado’s privacy laws.

Failing to obtain consent could make things worse and lead to criminal penalties. You should consult an attorney before you take matters into your own hands.

You should also consider the following:

  • A Resident’s Ability to Consent to Surveillance – Dementia patients or other residents with cognitive disabilities might be unable to give legal consent to install surveillance cameras.
  • Consent of Other Residents – If a resident has a roommate, that person must also consent to have cameras installed in the room.
  • The Facility’s Rules Regarding Camera Use – The nursing home might require you to notify them before you install any cameras, and they might have specific rules regarding their use.

What to Do if You Suspect Abuse

 If your loved one’s behavior has changed, their condition has worsened, or you notice fresh bruises on their body, they may be experiencing abuse.

Before you buy hidden cameras and place them in the nursing home undetected, you should file a complaint with the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment. You could also reach out to your local Ombudsman so that they could investigate your nursing home abuse claim.

Lastly, you should consult an attorney to review Colorado’s privacy laws and ensure you don’t violate any when trying to protect yourself or your loved one.

Call Nursing Home Justice Today for Help

Residents have rights when receiving care in a nursing home, including a right to quality care and privacy. Attempting to catch nursing home staff in the act of abusing your loved one could violate the privacy of others and lead to criminal charges.

It’d be wise to consult a nursing home abuse lawyer before you try to get justice for your loved one alone. Nursing Home Justice knows what steps you should take if you suspect abuse and could investigate your case to gather evidence that proves fault. Contact attorney Mac Hester at Nursing Home Justice today at (303) 775-8128 for a free consult.

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