New York Attorney General Andrea Cuomo has begun using hidden cameras in nursing homes to stop the criminal abuse and neglect of residences. This program has already had success in uncovering patient abuse and employees falsifying medical records to cover up misdeeds at a Long Island nusing home. The program is being expanded to other areas in New York State. This is a positive step to curb injury to one of societies most vulnerable, those who find themselves elderly and infirm.
While these criminal prosecutions are noteworthy, they are not the only weapon available to protect nusing home residence. The state and federal government have enacted numerous laws aimed at regulating nursing home practices. The Public Health Law in New York provides a individual with a private right of action for damages stemming from a deprivation of rights or benefits. The patient’s well being is paramount and these laws were put into place to protect the basic human rights and dignity of those who find themselves in a nursing home.
I applaud the Attorney General on his actions to curb abuse and believe the next step is to require nursing homes to educate the residences and their families about their rights and the laws in place that are meant to protect the dignity of the elderly.