According to CBS Philly, reports of abuse by home health aids in New Jersey has more than doubled in the last two years.
For the families that opt for home health services over nursing homes or assisted living facilities for their loved ones, it can be devastating to learn that abuse may still be happening in their own homes.
With the rise in reports of elderly abuse, the New Jersey Consumer Affairs Division implemented a new program to help families spot and stop instances of abuse or neglect by home health professionals.
New Jersey’s Safe Care Cam Program
Steve Lee, the director of the New Jersey Consumer Affairs Division, shared, “I think if you have a loved one being cared for by somebody and you see this type of [abuse], you’re disgusted. You’re horrified. You want someone to act on it and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
The division introduced the Safe Care Cam Program to help families acquire surveillance devices to catch and prevent abuse by home health aids.
Since hidden surveillance cameras can cost upwards of a few hundred dollars, the program was created to lend the devices out for free.
Attorney General Christopher Porrino is adamant about the need for this new program, stating: “Anyone who suspects a loved one is being abused by an in-home caregiver should not be left to feel helpless or without recourse. But a quality micro-surveillance camera is expensive and many people simply can’t afford them. So we’re offering the use of these cameras free of charge to those who wish to confirm that their loved ones are safe and well cared for in their absence.”
How Common is Elder Abuse by Home Health Professionals?
Earlier, we mentioned that the rate of abuse by home health professionals has more than doubled in New Jersey over recent years. According to CBS New York, in 2016 alone the state took disciplinary action against almost 300 certified home health aides, for crimes including sexual contact and assault of their patients.
The CBS article shares disturbing examples of this abuse, such as a home health aide forcefully striking a man with multiple disabilities when no one was watching, as well an elderly woman being violently force fed when her home health aid repeatedly slammed her jaw open and shut.
What to do if you suspect abuse by your home health aid
If you suspect abuse or neglect by your home health professional, we encourage you to take advantage of the new Safe Care Cam program. To request a free surveillance device for your loved one, contact the Division of Consumer Affairs (no evidence of abuse is necessary).
You will need to provide your contact and residence information, a copy of your personal identification (such as a driver’s license), attend a brief training, and pick up the camera in-person.
The Division of Consumer Affairs will have these loaner cameras available for pick-up in Cherry Hill and Newark. Participants will have access to the camera for a 30-day loan period, unless you request additional time.
Additionally, if you suspect that your loved one has been abused or neglected, we would also encourage you to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.
Here at D|K|R|Y, we are on a mission to stop nursing home abuse – we are fighting for the rights of victims every day. If you have any concerns about the care of your loved one, you can contact us directly at 800-609-7577.