TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — The New Jersey Attorney General is arming families with many cameras that can be easily hidden to detect abuse.
The Attorney General’s Office says that while most home health professionals are quite professional, in 2016, they’ve disciplined more than 300 workers and they worry that many more haven’t been caught.
Video was shown of a 26-year-old man with multiple disabilities in the not so loving hands of a home health aide. She not only flings his head around, but forcefully strikes him thinking that no one is watching.
In another video, an aide slams an elderly woman’s jaw up and down to make her eat.
In New Jersey, reported instances of abuse like this have more than doubled in the last two years.
“I think if you have a loved one being cared for by somebody and you see this type of conduct, you’re disgusted. You’re horrified. You want someone to act on it and that’s what we’re trying to do,” said Steve Lee, the director of the New Jersey Consumer Affairs Division.
The division of consumer affairs released the videos to show the benefits of hidden surveillance to catch and prevent abuse by home health aids. “What they’re finding and what we’re seeing is really beyond disturbing,” said New Jersey Attorney General Chris Porrino.
Since disguised micro-cameras can cost up to $300, the division introduced the Safe Care Cam Program on Thursday to lend out surveillance devices for free.
With more and more people opting for home health services over nursing homes or residential health programs, officials say abuse cases will increase unless abusers are held accountable.
“The program is designed to provide people with answers,” Porrino explained. “It’s also designed to deter those who think they can get away with abusing, in private, the frail and disabled.”
If you’d like to get a camera, you need to contact the Division of Consumer Affairs. You do not need evidence of abuse, but just an explanation and they’ll lend you a camera for about 30 days.