When families are not equipped or trained to provide around the clock specialized care a loved one may need due to failing health, age or some other reason, placing a loved one in a nursing home may be the only option. Nursing homes are charged to provide care to our most vulnerable populations such as the elderly and persons with disabilities. But, sadly there are times when a loved one entrusted in the care of a nursing home suffers neglect or is abused.
In fact, our Illinois residents may find it alarming to learn that each year the Illinois Department of Public Health received about 19,000 calls alleging either neglect, abuse or both at nursing homes. In an effort to prevent nursing home neglect, the Governor of our state signed into law a bill which will allow residents to have a camera placed in their room.
Nursing homes are required to have a sign at the main entrance of the facility that notes that premises are electronically monitored. Nursing home residents interested in having a camera in their room, however, must pay for it themselves. Additionally, all residents living in the room where at least one resident wants a camera must consent to having the camera installed. If the event that the room is shared, and the other resident does not consent to the camera, then the resident who wants the camera will be moved to another room.
Where the mental capacity of a resident prevents them from giving consent, a family member or the legal guardian can make that decision. However, a doctor would have to ascertain if the resident is able to consent or not. Undoubtedly, this new law is a good step in the right direction to hold nursing homes accountable and the law also empowers nursing home residents and their families, providing a sense of control.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “Rauner signs bill allowing nursing home residents to install cameras,” Monique Garcia and Kim Geiger, Aug. 21, 2015