Bill Would Allow Cameras in Illinois Nursing Homes

Illinois would become the fourth state in the U.S. to allow video and audio monitoring devices in nursing homes if Gov. Bruce Rauner signs legislation approved by the General Assembly.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan and other supporters say cameras in residents' rooms would help ensure they're treated well and give families added peace of mind. Madigan says the cameras also could help resolve disputes over suspected abuse and neglect.

But the Quincy Herald-Whig reports some local nursing home administrators have concerns.

Mike Duffy, administrator of Good Samaritan Home, questioned whether a resident can give proper consent to be videotaped when it would often be a family member installing a camera. He also has worries about privacy, particularly in rooms with multiple occupants.

Duffy also said he understands why some residents or family members would want to use the devices, particularly if they have concerns or suspicions about how someone is being treated.

"Most homes in this area do a good job of working with residents and their family members to resolve any questions and do the best to provide the best care for the person that we've been entrusted to their care," he said.

The measure, which the Legislature approved in May and sent to Rauner earlier this week, would require consent from the resident and any roommates. It also prohibits a nursing home from retaliating against anyone for using the devices.

Illinois has more than 860 nursing homes with more than 76,000 residents, according to Madigan's office. Those numbers are expected to increase as the state's population continues to age.

The Illinois Department of Public Health responds to about 5,000 complaints each year. In 2013 the department found 106 allegations of abuse, neglect or theft of property by nursing home staff to be valid.

Rauner hasn't indicated whether he will sign the bill.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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