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We have reported in earlier posts that Esther’s Law became effective in Ohio in March 2022. This legislation allows the use of recording devices in nursing homes. The law is named after Esther Piskor. For the last three years of her life, Esther Piskor was abused and neglected in an Ohio nursing home. Steve Piskor, Esther’s son, put a hidden camera in his mother Esther’s nursing home room when she was in her 70s and living with dementia. He said though he went to visit her often, and the staff never mentioned any difficulties with Esther’s care, it wasn’t until he placed a hidden camera in the room that he saw aides yell at her, spray liquid into her face, be rough in her handling and neglect her for long periods.

Although Esther passed away in May 2018, her son, Steve Piskor worked with Ohio lawmakers to create Esther’s Law to enable families the legal ability to monitor staff who care for their loved one.

Texas has a similar law and unfortunately a family discovered that their 87-year-old was a victim of abuse in a care facility.  The abuse from two care workers was captured on camera in October 2022. The family installed the camera after their loved one had made remarks of mistreatment, but the family could not prove or validate the claims. The two care workers have been charged with injury to the elderly which is a second-degree felony in Texas.  You can view the full news story about the nursing home abuse here.

In another disturbing news of elder abuse, a nurse in the U.K. was sentenced to 10 months in prison this past December 2022 after CCTV footage captured her abusing a 93-year-old woman with dementia. The nurse, with more than 20 years of experience, initially denied the abuse, but eventually pleaded guilty to ill treatment or neglect of a person without capacity after the footage was revealed. You can read the full news story about the elder abuse caught on camera here.

Since the introduction of smaller camera devices, many cases have been uncovered where abuse has been captured in nursing home facilities. Many loved ones across the country had them installed during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to see their loved ones when facilities were closed to visitors. According to a fact sheet from the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services, county departments received more than 32,000 reports of abuse and neglect for adults age 60 and over in Ohio between July 2019 through June 2020. No fact sheets from 2021 or 2022 have been posted as of the writing of this blog.

Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Washington have similar laws that permit the installation of cameras in residents’ rooms, if the resident and roommate have consented.

To learn more about Esther’s Law, visit the Ohio Department of Aging’s website or to read the full law click here.

What should you do if you suspect nursing home abuse?  Read our nursing home abuse blog to learn more about the signs of abuse and contact a qualified elder abuse attorney today.