After noticing a handful of things she had bought for her 96-year-old mother had gone missing, Doris Racher placed a hidden camera in her mother’s room at an Oklahoma nursing home. Racher never found out who was taking her mother’s items, but instead found out her mother was being abused.
Racher watched in disgust as one aide stuffed latex gloves into Mrs. Eryetha Mayberry’s mouth, while another taunted her, the New York Times reported. The camera also saw a worker lift her from her wheelchair, and then fling her on a bed. Another worker performed a few heavy-handed chest compressions. Based on the videos, one aide pleaded guilty to abuse and neglect, while another appears to have fled the country, the New York Times reported. Sadly, scenes like the one Mrs. Mayberry endured have been reported in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and other states by relatives who placed hidden cameras in rooms to find out how their loved one was being treated.
Earlier this month, Oklahoma became the third state (New Mexico and Texas) to openly permit residents in long-term care facilities to maintain surveillance cameras in their rooms. In the last two years, five states have considered similar laws. While some states have administrative guidelines that allow for electronic monitoring, most legislative efforts have failed due to concerns over privacy rights.
Families are not the only ones who have used hidden cams to find out what is going on at these homes. According to the New York Times, last year that New York state attorney general’s office demonstrated its methods at a national training program for state investigators. In June, the Ohio state attorney general announced that his office, in correlation with the families, had placed cameras in residents’ rooms in an unspecified number of state facilities, the New York Times reported.