On August 21, 2015, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law HB 2462, effective on January 1, 2016, which will allow electronic monitoring devices to be installed in nursing home resident rooms. Illinois is only the forth U.S. state to explicitly allow electronic monitoring devices to be installed in resident rooms in nursing home facilities.
The critical provisions of the new law will:
– Allow for audio and video electronic monitoring devices in resident rooms;
– Require resident and roommate consent;
– Make nursing home residents or their representatives responsible for the purchase, installation, and maintenance expenses of the devices;
– Prohibit facility retaliation against residents for the use of the devices;
– Provide for recordings to be admissible into evidence in administrative, civil, and criminal proceedings; and,
– Provide misdemeanor and felony penalties for any person or entity that intentionally hampers, obstructs, tampers with, or destroys a recording or an electronic monitoring device.
In announcing Governor Bruce Rauner signing HB 2462 into law, Attorney General Lisa Madigan stated, “This law makes Illinois one of the first states in the nation to give families peace of mind by allowing them to monitor their loved one’s care when they cannot be present.” A sponsor of the new law stated, “The vast majority of Illinois’ nursing homes provide high-quality services to their residents, but this law allows commonly used modern technology [to] add another layer of care. These recording devices will help families ensure that their loved ones are receiving respectful and compassionate care.” Another sponsor stated, “This is a good, common-sense measure that will help protect nursing home residents and enable families to remain active in their loved ones’ care.”
Illinois currently has more than 860 nursing home facilities with more than 76,000 residents. Official estimates anticipate that 22.3% of Illinois’ population will be age 60 and older by 2030 (an increase of more than 28% from 2012). The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) receives more than 21,000 calls annually and responds to approximately 5,000 complaints, the majority of which involve long-term care facilities. In 2013, the IDPH found 106 allegations of abuse, neglect, or misappropriation of property against residents by facility staff to be valid.
We applaud Illinois’ leadership in enacting this new law that will help protect Illinois nursing home residents. Opposition to such protections typically cite privacy concerns (the privacy rights of the resident, the resident’s roommate (if any), visitors to the resident’s room, and nursing home staff who provide care and services to the resident). However, the new law in Illinois appears to address much of the concerns.
Regardless, if video/audio monitoring is a useful tool for residents’ loved ones insure the health and well-being of their family member who is in a nursing home, may help prevent abuse of their family member because potential nursing home abusers will know that their actions (of lack of care) are being watched, and may assist in having nursing home abusers removed from the nursing home facility before they can do further harm to the resident or others, then any incidental intrusion into privacy rights may be worth the trade off to protect vulnerable nursing home residents from nursing home negligence, nursing home neglect, and nursing home abuse.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries during a nursing home stay, you should promptly contact a local nursing home claim attorney in your state to investigate your possible nursing home claim for you and file a nursing home claim on your behalf, if appropriate.
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