Assembly approves bill to allow nursing home residents to opt in to electronic surveillance

 

STATE HOUSE — The General Assembly today voted to approve legislation from Sen. Dawn Euer and Rep. Jason Knight to allow nursing home residents to choose to have cameras installed in their rooms.

The legislation (2024-S 2263A, 2024-H 7969A) now heads to the governor’s desk for his consideration.

“For residents and their loved ones who desire it, in-room cameras can provide a means of contact, oversight and protection,” said Senator Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown), who also chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee. “This does not impose an additional cost on the nursing home, as the devices would be paid for by the resident or their family and it would not constitute an invasion of privacy, as cameras would only be installed at the request of the resident and with the consent of any and all roommates. Rather, this bill will provide an additional tool to preserve continuity of care for residents and families who opt in.”

Said Representative Knight (D-Dist. 67, Barrington, Warren), “This is about giving families and patients a sense of security. This bill takes advantage of the technology that is available today to allow for monitoring for a good purpose, which is to keep an eye on grandma or grandpa in the nursing home. The point of this monitoring isn’t adversarial, but rather to assist the collaborative care relationship between the resident, their family and the nursing home for the safety, health and benefit of all residents.”

The legislation would allow for electronic monitoring of residents’ rooms in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, provided all residents of the room consent in writing. The consent can be withdrawn at any time, and a variety of safeguards exist for protect resident privacy.

“Residents with dementia and communication difficulties are especially vulnerable in care facilities, as they are not able to advocate effectively for themselves, and when they do complain of mistreatment, their complaints are frequently dismissed,” said Kathleen Gerard, director of Advocates for Better Care in Rhode Island. “A camera can provide peace of mind, ensure quality care and exonerate staff who are falsely accused, but not everyone would want one for themselves. We just want residents and their legal representatives to have the right to make this choice for themselves.”

 

 

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