CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) – Starting today under a new state law, relatives of nursing home patients in Ohio are allowed to place surveillance cameras in the rooms of their loved ones.
The new law is the culmination of a ten year crusade by a Cleveland man who discovered that his mother was being abused at a nursing home.
78-year-old Esther Piskor was the loving matriarch of a large family, but when she began to suffer from the effects of Alzheimer’s, they had no choice but to place her in the care of a nursing home.
In 2012, she began to show signs of abuse and her son decided to place a hidden camera in Esther’s room.
What the camera captured was shocking.
No less than eight nursing aides were caught on video abusing Esther on a regular basis.
Her son, Steve Piskor, told FOX 8, “The video was horrific to us, to me and my family. I mean, we still never got over it, even until today.”
All eight of the aides who abused Esther were fired and two of them were sent to prison.
Steve decided that no other nursing home patient should be subjected to such treatment. He launched a campaign to create a new state law that would give every Ohio family the right to place a camera in the room of their loved one.
“I don’t want to have people put hidden cameras in and have to look at their loved ones being abused, you know, I want them to put a camera in and stop the abuse,” he said.
But over the next decade, lawmakers in Columbus resisted Piskor’s demand for cameras in nursing homes.
“You ask all of them. They’ll tell you that I was a nuisance, you know, because I was sending them hundreds of emails a month all about abuse and get this law done and let’s get it done,” he said.
He was not surprised that the legislation gained momentum during the pandemic, when many families were separated from their loved ones in nursing homes and used various cameras to maintain contact.
Then in 2021, the bill known as “Esther’s Law” was approved by the Ohio House and Senate in November, and was signed into law by Governor DeWine in December.
The new law took effect on Wednesday.
Relieved, Steve told us, “When somebody goes in that room, they’re going to know they know they’re on film. They’re on tape, they’re being watched.”
Esther passed away in 2018 at the age of 85 and her son says his thoughts are with the proud woman who inspired his ten year crusade.
“I think she would be happy about it. I know she’d be even more happy that the cameras are going in to help stop something that she went through,” he said.