A new Illinois law was designed to prevent nursing home abuse and neglect. This new act allows nursing home residents and their guardians to install “nanny cam” devices in their rooms. Residents and any roommates must consent to having this equipment installed. A legal guardian or family member may give consent if a physician determines that the resident is unable to do so. This consent can be withdrawn at any time by the resident or roommate.
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The Highlights of the New Law
Advances in technology are making it easier to prevent nursing home abuse and neglect. Cameras are just one of many new devices designed to alert family of nursing home abuse. There are specific requirements surrounding the installation of cameras. This surveillance equipment must be installed at the expense of the resident or their guardian and is required to be placed in a visible location. Residents who cannot afford a camera and other devices may enter a lottery to possibly receive funding for equipment. (Monitoring systems can cost between $200 and $1,000.)
The law also defines legal penalties for hindering the installation of, destroying or obstructing electronic monitoring equipment. Visitors must also be notified that the devices are installed.
Surveillance equipment can range from simple cameras that record action on a memory card to web-enabled devices that allow for live streaming. Illinois is only the fourth state to allow such equipment in nursing homes. To address privacy concerns, residents may request that cameras be turned off during specific times, such as changing or bathing.
Nursing home abuse and neglect has been a major concern for Illinois residents. A nursing home advocacy group recently ranked the state as the 42nd worst in the nation, for nursing home care. One reason for the “F” grade was very low staffing levels in Illinois facilities. Concerns have sparked families to bring hidden cameras in rooms to record criminal acts. By allowing cameras in the rooms of those in nursing homes, advocates hope to prevent these acts from taking place. This could be particularly helpful for families of patients who struggle to communicate due to disease or dementia. A Lake County nursing home abuse lawyer can provide more information about keeping loved ones safe while in the care of a nursing home.