Video retention has become a hot topic in senior living litigation. Without a written and executed Video Retention Policy, a facility is at risk for a “spoliation of evidence” claim should a lawsuit be filed by a visitor or resident. The following offers best practices if your community utilizes video surveillance:
- Follow your specific Video Retention Policy, if you do not have one, consider developing one that addresses the following:
- Identify protocols with leadership and your vendor/IT department
- Educate staff and assign a responsible party(ies) to retain video for the length of time addressed in your policy.
- Federal HIPAA laws address privacy and security but they do not set record retention periods.
- Retain video that captures any event that may become a general or professional liability claim. Keep the original video, or make a copy of the video and sequester it, to prevent accidental destruction. Treat this with sensitivity toward time to avoid copying over existing footage. Examples of scenarios of which to permanently* retain video content include:
- A resident falls in the hallway and sustains a fracture
- A visitor falls in the parking lot
- A resident-to-resident assault with injury at the nurses’ station
- Refuse a family’s request to view your video surveillance. It is a HIPAA violation to share video that captures other residents’ activities. Refuse to provide video to a plaintiff attorney. Plaintiff attorneys can issue a Request for Records in which they request copies of any existing video. The video is not part of a resident’s record and should not be released to a plaintiff attorney. Only your defense attorney may release a video, most likely during litigation or to support your defense.
*Video of an event that you can reasonably predict a claim may arise from should be retained until the statute of limitations has expired. Consult with AssuredPartners for your state specific statutes.
Strengthening your community’s establishment through the application of “follow, retain and refuse” will protect your business and your residents. Reach out to the AP Senior Living team for further insight on video retention policies.