My grandmother spent the last years of her life in a nursing home.
Luckily for her, the staff were wonderful and did a great job of looking after her.
Not everyone is so lucky.
The main concern for anyone placing someone in nursing care is that they can’t keep an eye on them and make sure they are getting the best of care.
That was before nanny cams became widely available.
Now it is not only possible but also very easy. However……
Is it Legal to Put a Nanny Cam in a Nursing Home?
The answer is YES……and you do not have to notify the staff that its there.
Admittedly the law is a little complicated.
The reason is that for the carers the care home is a place of work. However, for the elderly person, it is their home.
Carer helping an old person out of bed
So the situation bridges two laws.
It is legal to record with a hidden camera in your home without the consent of the person you’re recording.
The only caveat to this is as follows “where your subjects have a reasonable expectation of privacy.“
However, seeing as the camera will be in the domain of the resident, not the carer, this isn’t applicable. It just means that you can’t place it in the staff toilets.
Now there is an obvious flaw in this logic. It requires the elderly resident to buy and place the camera in their home or at least consent to it.
Most people are in a care home are there because they are no longer able to cope on their own. In some cases, this is due to a mobility issue. In most cases though, this is due to dementia.
Dementia is the No1 reason a person moves to a care home
If somebody has dementia, they might not be able to understand enough to consent. However, if you have power of attorney, you can do this.
What is power of attorney?
The UK government describe it as:
“A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you (the ‘donor’) appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf.
This gives you more control over what happens to you if you have an accident or an illness and can’t make your own decisions (you ‘lack mental capacity’).”
One important point, the lasting power of attorney (LPA) must be written and signed by both parties when they are both well.
You cannot wait for dementia to start, at that point the person is deemed ‘not capable’ of signing the document.
Here is the UK, lasting power of attorney (LPA) can be done online on the official government website.
However, due to the massive ramifications of getting this wrong (once somebody gets ill, its can’t be redone), I would recommend getting this done through a solicitor.
Is this the same everywhere?
My research has been localised in the UK, however, I am aware that the same applies in the USA.
However, unlike the UK, laws can differ slightly from state to state so its advisable to double check with your local state.
So assuming that you have the lasting power of attorney (LPA) you are legally empowered to place the nanny camera in the room even though NEITHER party (relative or carers) are aware.
However to be 100% sure.
Contact a local nursing home
Personally, I would not contact the nursing home where you have elderly relatives.
I wouldn’t want them to be tipped off. I would want to ensure the carers are genuinely doing a good job rather than pretending to because they know there is a camera.
To test this theory, I contacted a local care home to me posing as a possible customer:
Reply from Nursing Home
As you will see from the reply “it is legal to place a camera” and “You have no obligation to inform us”.
So once you feel comfortable that you are within your rights the next inevitable question will be:
What is the best nanny camera to get?
As mentioned above, personally I would want the camera to be hidden.
For example, I have the Foscam Baby Camera.
This would work, it has all the capability and the app is very versatile.
In fact, the requirements for a baby camera and a nursing home camera are very similar.
But it is obvious and cannot be easily hidden.
Not ideal Camera for a Care Home
This is why I would opt for something like the Toy cam.
A cute cuddly toy would be the most natural item in a care home and would never arouse suspicions.
Perfect Spy Camera for a Nursing Home
There are lots of other hidden spy cameras but some of them aren’t applicable here such as a smoke alarm or plug socket camera.
The care home will have its own smoke cameras and installing a new one will cause suspicion.
Should this be a WIFI or SD Camera?
This is a rare occasion where I would recommend an SD Camera.
Normally I would recommend WIFI as it gives the piece of mind that the data will be stored even in the scenario where the camera is discovered.
So why not now?
The reason is the WIFI password……..the care home will have this updated from time to time, it’s best practice.
Each time you will have to reconfigure the hidden camera.
It will raise suspicion, constantly asking for the changed code.
Also, the SD card will be easily retrievable as you will be visiting often.
However……you will need two cards. When you leave with the first one to inspect the footage at home, you will need to place the backup in the camera.
Placing a camera in a care home is legal.
In fact, I would even say……necessary.
If the care staff are doing their job well then they shouldn’t object.
If not……..you want to make sure that you are able to catch them.
However, as stated above its important that you get a lasting power of attorney (LPA) signed for a myriad of reasons.