Saturday, April 25, 2015

Illinois bill allowing video, audio monitoring in nursing homes passes House

ILLINOIS (KWQC) – The Illinois House has passed a proposal to allow families to install video or audio devices to monitor their loved ones in nursing homes.

The goal is quality care for residents and peace of mind for family members.

Advocates for residents in senior care or rehabilitation facilities said it’s a hotly debated topic. They raise concerns about invasion of privacy, but also wanting to ensure quality care.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan said complaints of negligence sparked the legislation. She said there’s an increasing need for additional safety measures in nursing homes across the state.

The Department of Public Health receives more than 21,000 calls annually for disputes of abuse or negligence in nursing homes.

“I wouldn’t want to live like that,” said Rock Island Nursing & Rehabilitation Center resident William Akin.

He said installing cameras in his room would be an invasion of privacy.

“Watch me undress, watch me do whatever…my caretakers are the people that do that,” he said.

However, he agrees in certain circumstances it could be beneficial only if a person has their own room and is more vulnerable, like someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

“They may think this is a way to catch someone or see someone being abused, but I think there’s other ways of doing it,” he said.

Madigan proposed legislation that would give families and nursing home residents the option of installing video or audio devices in their rooms.

Regional Ombudsman or resident advocate Jennifer Glackin said there are pro’s and con’s to the legislation.

“The family can’t always be there to make sure that they get what they need and that their tubes are cleaned and that their apparatuses are maintained so, with regard to that I think that it possibly could be an alternative for families that have to be there all the time, to monitor what’s going on,” she said.

Glackin said the legislation requires resident and roommate consent, but said residents may have reservations about their privacy.

“Their room is their sanctuary and that’s where they chance and that’s where they sometimes take their meds when they’re not feeling well, nobody wants to be recorded in those vulnerable times,” she said.

Glackin said  it may be most beneficial for residents who can’t speak for themselves.

“That’s going to stop potentially situations where people don’t respond in a timely manner or they’re not administering appropriate care to people,” she said. “We’ve got people on both sides…some people are really supporting this and there are other people… It’s almost like the big brother effect, when has it gone too far?”

Glackin said as resident advocates they’re concerned about what language will be introduced to the bill. She said it needs to be worded wisely and monitored closely to protect residents.

If the law passes, Illinois will be the 4th state to allow cameras to be installed in resident rooms of nursing homes.

Press Release via Attorney General Lisa Madigan
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KWQC) — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today applauded the members of the Illinois House of Representatives after it passed her proposal to allow nursing home residents and their families to place video or audio monitoring devices in their rooms to help ensure their safety and well-being. House Bill 2462 sponsored by Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) passed with 85 votes in support and now heads to the Senate for consideration.

“Placing a loved one in a nursing facility is a difficult decision that many families will face,” Madigan said. “This measure provides an extra layer of security for nursing home residents, while giving their families peace of mind knowing that their loved ones are receiving safe, quality care.”

The initiative stems from complaints Madigan received from nursing home residents and families who are concerned for their relatives’ care and security. Madigan’s proposal would allow residents of nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities or their family members to purchase and install video or audio monitoring devices in their rooms.

“I would like to thank Attorney General Lisa Madigan for her leadership on this important issue for Illinois families,” Harris said. “When families place an aging loved one into a nursing facility, it is important that they have access to a commonly accepted and widely used technology to ensure safety, and assure families that their relatives are receiving attentive and caring services.”

Madigan cited an increasing need for additional safety measures at Illinois nursing homes as the state’s population continues to age. Currently, Illinois has over 1,100 nursing home facilities with over 76,000 residents. The U.S. Census Bureau also estimates that by 2030, 22.3 percent of Illinois’ population will be aged 60 and older, an increase of more than 28 percent from 2012.

Madigan noted that video and audio surveillance could be used as an added tool to help resolve disputes about suspected abuse or negligence. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) receives more than 21,000 calls annually and responds to approximately 5,000 complaints. In 2013, the IDPH found 106 allegations of abuse, neglect, or misappropriation of property against residents by facility staff to be valid.

The main provisions of Madigan’s proposal would:

Allow for audio and video electronic monitoring devices;
Require resident and roommate consent;
Make nursing home residents or their representatives responsible for the purchase, installation and maintenance expenses of the devices;
Prohibit facility retaliation for the use of the devices;
Provide for recordings to be admissible into evidence in administrative, civil and criminal proceedings; and
Provide misdemeanor and felony penalties for any person or entity that intentionally hampers, obstructs, tampers with, or destroys a recording or an electronic monitoring device.

If enacted, Illinois would become the fourth state to explicitly allow electronic monitoring devices to be installed in resident rooms in nursing home facilities.

Full Article & Source:
Illinois bill allowing video, audio monitoring in nursing homes passes House


StandUp said...

It's a good step forward in protecting the vulnerable.

Betty said...

I hope this spreads state to state.