CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) - A Cleveland man, who used surveillance cameras to catch nursing home employees abusing his elderly mother, is now pushing for a new state law that would allow cameras in all nursing homes.
When Esther Piskor, 78, began showing signs that she was being abused at a skilled nursing home, her son decided to set up a camera in her room, and even put up a sign warning employees they were being recorded.
The camera revealed that Esther Piskor was being abused and neglected by nine different nursing aides.
Steve Piskor's surveillance video was used to convict two of the nursing aides on criminal charges, and three other aides were fired.
"The way they were manhandling her, I mean, eventually something would have happened to her seriously where she would have had an injury that would have caused her death; I mean, it was inevitable that was going to happen. I just was lucky that I caught it in time," he said.
Esther Piskor died in April 2018 at the age of 85 and, in her name, her son has convinced lawmakers in the Ohio General Assembly to propose a new law that would give nursing home residents or their families the option of placing surveillance cameras in their rooms.
Steve Piskor told FOX 8, "We're not saying that all aides are bad or all nursing homes are bad, but what I will say is that there are bad aides and bad people in nursing homes and we need to stop that; I mean, the abuse is at crisis level. I truly believe that they do think that they are getting away with whatever they do because there is no one checking on them."
Piskor said the addition of surveillance cameras is the best way to hold nursing homes accountable, and those cameras will serve as deterrents to abuse and neglect. "We want them to be on their guard when they're in that room and we want them to be doing the care because that camera is in the room, so if they're doing that, the camera is working,” he said.
Piskor rejects the argument by opponents of the legislation that the cameras are an invasion of privacy. "While residents have the right to privacy, other residents have the right to be free of abuse and neglect and be treated with dignity and respect and the camera is going to do that,” he said.
Piskor said if the camera proposal becomes law, it will give families peace of mind. "Every time I walked out of a nursing home, I had to worry about if my mother was okay. I couldn't be there 24 hours a day, so the peace of mind is worth all the gold in the world to put a camera in that nursing home,” he said.