New Jersey to loan cameras to prevent home health care abuse

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TRENTON, N.J. — Families in New Jersey who suspect a home health aide is abusing a loved one can now borrow a tiny surveillance camera from the state.

Attorney General Christopher Porrino announced details of the safe care cam program Thursday in Trenton.

The program, run by the Division of Consumer Affairs, is designed to ensure residents who suspect abuse by home health care providers have access to hidden cameras to gather evidence.

Cameras and memory cards will be available for free, 30-day loan periods, according to a news release. Reasonable requests for additional loan time can be made to the Division if the need arises.

Once a camera has been picked up at a Division office in either Newark or Cherry Hill, those who are going to install and use the cameras to gather footage are also responsible for reviewing any footage gathered using a TV or computer and an adapter provided by the Division, according to a news release. If any damning video evidence is captured, it’s up to the program participant to report any issues of concern to either the Division or other appropriate authorities.

Since January, the state has disciplined nearly 300 certified home health aides for alleged crimes on and off the job including criminal sexual contact and assault.

Porrino says that’s a significant increase over 2015 when close to 200 aides were disciplined.

The use of hidden camera footage helps families since the video evidence greatly increases the chance for them to fight and substantiate alleged patient abuse.

Those who wish to participate in the program can call the Division at 973-504-6375 and leave a message in a voice mailbox that is regularly checked by Division staff. Or, they can call toll free at 1-800-242-5846 and follow the prompts to leave a message.

Patients who believe they have been treated harshly or in an inappropriate manner by a licensed health care professional can file an online complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs on the division website or by calling toll free 1-800-242-5846 or 973-504-6200.