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A New Bill May Place Cameras in the Rooms of Nursing Home Residents

The statistics on nursing home abuse are shocking. According to a recent article, more than 5 million people are abused in nursing homes every year. As a result, lawmakers are trying to take steps to address this serious problem. Lawmakers in the state of Michigan recently proposed a bill to curtail the incidence of nursing home abuse. According to a new bill that was filed, cameras would be allowed to be installed inside of nursing home patient rooms. The hope is that with increased surveillance, the incidence of nursing home abuse will drop.

According to the sponsor of the bill, the goal of the camera would be to allow family members to see how their loved ones are being treated inside the nursing home. Of note, patients would have to provide consent to allow cameras inside their room. Some nursing home residents do not have private rooms. In this case, everyone in the room would have to provide consent for a camera to be installed. Finally, in some cases, the nursing home resident might not have the capacity to provide consent. In this case, the designated healthcare power of attorney would have the ability to provide consent for the camera to be placed.

The bill also requires that conspicuous signs be placed to notify everyone who enters the room that a camera is present, turned on, and recording. There should not be any surprises to anyone about what is going on in the room. Some people expressed their concerns about the camera filming private procedures or other matters. In these cases, caregivers can close the curtains and block the view of the camera when these procedures are being carried out or when sensitive matters are being discussed.

Not everyone is in support of the bill. The Healthcare Association of Michigan actually came out against the bill. They claim that the cameras are too invasive and can deprive an elderly individual of his or her privacy or dignity. The association drew a comparison to cameras that are used to watch preschoolers at daycare. In response, lawmakers have said that families have to consent to the camera’s placement, so there should not be any imposition. They also pointed to the original purpose of the bill, which was to curtail nursing home abuse. According to Strom & Associates, families have an “expectation is that [a loved one] will receive the proper care they deserve. Many times, nursing homes fail to meet that expectation.” This bill is another way to hold nursing homes accountable.

Nursing home abuse can take many forms including physical, emotional, financial, and even sexual. For this reason, it is critical for every family to make sure that their loved one is getting the care that he or she deserves. This bill provides another way to ensure that this happens.