ABC Chicago reported that Illinois may become the next state to allow video security of nursing home residents. The ABC7 I-Team reported last spring that cameras are legal in four states. Ten months after an ABC7 I-Team investigation of nursing home abuse, legislation was introduced in Springfield that would help family members who want to keep closer watch on their loves ones. Under the proposal, surveillance cameras could be put in the rooms of nursing home patients.
Health care experts and family members of nursing home residents say that surveillance cameras would help keep elderly patients safe, improve the state’s nursing home care ranking, which is near the bottom nationally, and save taxpayer money from being wasted.
The latest Department of Public Health report cites 106 Illinois nursing home residents were victims of theft, abuse and neglect.
“If we can prevent 10 percent, 20 percent, 50 percent of the suffering of these seniors by making sure they are recorded and people know that their actions will be seen, it would be a wonderful thing,” said Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago). Rep. Harris says Attorney General Lisa Madigan asked him to draft legislation. Under the proposed law:
- Nursing home cameras would have to be visible
- Resident’s roommates and staff notified in advance
- Patients would be responsible for paying
“Having eyes on the patients, being able to have a clear record of what goes on, should enable guaranteed better care and it should protect them if they’re concerned that somebody make a frivolous charge,” Rep. Harris said. Under the law, the state would put up $50,000 for residents who couldn’t afford cameras, recipients to be chosen by lottery.