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Should Families Be Allowed to Install Video Cameras in Nursing Homes?

Nursing home operators and unions are insulted and angered by the idea of allowing family members to install video and audio recorders in their respective family member’s room. Service Employees International Union Local 1199 representative Bob Angelo said that nursing homes are a highly regulated industry and are subject to many inspections. He added that lawyers of the family members would be the happiest about this bill and noted that it seems like it’s a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

On the other hand, the bill would be particularly useful to family members who live far away and are not able to visit frequently. The bill would allow the camera to be placed in a hidden or visible location. If the resident had a roommate, the roommate would have to give consent and could request for it to only be pointed at the resident or ask for no audio to be recorded. If the roommate did not consent, then the resident would have to be transferred to another room.

Another big concern would be the privacy rights. Bob Angelo raised many questions about the video recordings, such as who gets to see it and where it would be stored. Furthermore, if a resident from another room visits the resident with the video recording, his or her privacy rights could be violated. A concern raised by Association Vice President John Indyk was that the staff’s ability to serve the resident may be hindered by the fact that the resident will feel less inclined to talk about family problems if they know his or her family is listening. Another issue with the recording is that family members may feel less inclined to visit their loved ones because seeing them on video is enough to ease any concern they may have.

Several states, such as Maryland, Washington, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma, already allow video recordings. However, while the AARP supports the bill, State Director Evelyn Liebman said the organization is still evaluating the bill’s details. A senate version of the bill still has yet to be introduced.

 

Source: Andrew Kitchenman, “Legislation Would Let Families Record Activities in Nursing-Home Rooms,” NJ Spotlight