Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation Aug. 21 supporters say will help prevent abuse and neglect of nursing home residents. The Authorized Electronic Monitoring in Long-Term Care Facilities Act allows nursing home residents to install audio and video surveillance equipment in their rooms.
Residents and their roommates must consent to having video or audio recording devices installed. The act allows legal guardians and family members to give consent for residents, if a physician determines a resident is incapable of doing so. Consent can be withdrawn at any time by residents or their roommates.
According to the Illinois General Assembly website, the surveillance equipment would be installed at the resident’s own expense and must be positioned in a “conspicuously visible location.”
The law requires the Illinois Department of Public Health to establish a $50,000 fund for purchasing and installing the equipment, which will be dispersed every year, via a lottery, to residents who cannot afford it. Monitoring systems can run from about $200 to $1,000, according to a Feb. 13 Chicago Tribune article.
The law also establishes legal penalties for hindering the installation of, obstructing or destroying electronic monitoring equipment, and contains provisions that include notifying visitors of electronic monitoring and limiting facilities’ access to the recordings.
The IDPH receives about 19,000 calls alleging neglect or abuse each year and investigates about 5,000 of them, according to the Tribune article. “I look at this as a measure that’s going to be there to protect our grandparents, our parents, but ultimately one day all of us are going to have to rely on somebody watching over us to make sure we get appropriate care,” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said in the article.
The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2016. Illinois is the fifth state to enact such a law. New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington have laws requiring nursing homes to allow residents to install electronic monitoring devices, according to the Tribune article.
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