ThurmondAdults who reside in nursing facilities are usually in very poor health; they are often unable to care for themselves and to protect themselves from harm. Family members or caretakers sometimes suspect mistreatment when they begin noticing unexplainable bruises or missing personal items.
To address these concerns, AARP South Carolina supports the use of video technology for the purpose of surveillance, documentation of care, and virtual visitation. “This technology should be allowed only when protections are in place to ensure that it does not infringe on roommates’ right to privacy,” says AARP’s Coretta Bedsole.
Recently, a Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee has discussed Senate Bill 257, sponsored by Senator Paul Thurmond, (R-Charleston) also known as the electronic monitoring legislation.
Why is optional electronic monitoring good for seniors and persons with disabilities (and facilities)?
Family members or caretakers often suspect mistreatment when they begin noticing unexplainable bruises or missing personal items. As a result, many would like to place cameras in their loved one’s room in the hopes of gaining an explanation. And often times, what the camera reveals can be heartbreaking and unimaginable. Arguably, the greatest reason folks fear being sent to a nursing home is that they fear losing adequate contact with loved ones and being subjected to mistreatment.
Caregivers working in the facilities can better monitor the people they are assigned to care for. Facilities that operate with due care and consideration for their residents will have documentation that they are providing quality care.
AARP policy notes that the federal government and the states should enact laws that clearly establish the right of nursing facility and supportive housing residents—or their legally recognized decision makers—to use video technology for the purpose of surveillance, documentation of care, and virtual visitation. This technology should be allowed only when protections are in place to ensure that it does not infringe on roommates’ right to privacy. Nursing facilities and supportive housing residences should be prohibited from removing or refusing to admit a resident who chooses to use such technology.
What changes to the law should be passed to help family caregivers?
• Allow family members and caregivers to put monitoring equipment (at their own expense) in their loved one’s room at a nursing or assisted living facility.
• Define long term care facility to include nursing homes and assisted living facilities
• Require facilities to provide notice that electronic monitoring is permitted (not mandatory)
• Prohibit a facility from refusing to allow the use of monitoring equipment
• Establish penalties for tampering with equipment

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