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Illinois considers allowing video cameras in nursing homes

Every year thousands of complaints are lodged with the Illinois Department of Public Health regarding alleged nursing home abuse and neglect. Nursing homes provide care for senior citizens and other individuals with diminished physical and mental capacities who need support to perform the minor and major requirements of daily living. While some of the complaints received by DPH are meritless, others involve significant violations of the law that result in serious injuries to nursing home patients.

This Chicago personal injury law blog has addressed some types of nursing home neglect and abuse. Bed sores, medication errors, emotional abuse, and other types of harm can be real problems for people who rely on nursing home staff members for assistance. Claims of abuse and neglect are sometimes hard to prove when it is a resident's word against that of a staff member. Accordingly, the Illinois legislature has sent to the governor a proposed piece of law that could help resolve this problem.

Governor Bruce Rauner is now reviewing a bill that would permit the installation of video cameras in nursing home patients' rooms. Advocates for the bill believe it would help keep residents safe while detractors claim that nursing home patients may not be able to consent to having their lives recorded. As family members may be the ones putting the cameras in their rooms, nursing home residents may not have a part in the decisions to have recording devices in their private spaces.

Only three other states have laws on their books that permit video cameras in nursing home residents' rooms. As the General Assembly has passed the bill, it is now up to the governor to sign it into law. Chicago residents will have to see if this bill moves forward and if so if it improves the quality of care that residents of Illinois' nursing homes receive.

Source: The Telegraph, "Bill would allow cameras in Illinois nursing homes," July 4, 2015

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