Not a week goes by that an atrocity committed in a nursing home doesn’t make it on the news. Patients end up assaulted, staff members don’t provide proper care, and negligence, often stemming from overloading workers, leads to the elderly wandering off, experiencing injuries, or not being fed and bathed.
Negligence and abuse allegations often require an attorney to get involved, but wouldn’t it be helpful if a camera had been in the patient’s room all along, recording all activity?
A subcommittee in the South Carolina state Senate is considering such a move. According to reports, the Electronic Monitoring of a Resident’s Room in a Long-Term Care Facility bill was pushed ahead.
Turning it into law would allow nursing home residents the option of adding a camera or similar video recording device to their rooms to monitor activity. Family members would be required to post a notice stating the room is being monitored.
Any staff found tampering with the footage or equipment would face penalties.
Regarding this proposed measure, Sen. Paul Thurmond, R-Charleston, told the press: “It really puts a lot of power in their hands to be able to have oversight of their care in a way that family can be involved without being there. The patient can interact where it’s positioned and what it’s going to capture.”
Not everyone in the state Senate is on board. While a similar law went into effect in Oklahoma, certain South Carolina Senators claim it violates the privacy of patients, doctors, and staff and breaches confidentiality.
Considering a report last week showed that nearly a third of all short-term nursing home patients aren’t getting the appropriate care they need, leading to more hospital stays, larger Medicare payments, and preventable deaths and injuries, adding cameras to rooms is a step in the right direction.