Cameras could soon record inside nursing home rooms

CHAMPAIGN--Cameras could soon capture every minute of what goes on in nursing homes across the state. A proposed law would allow residents to install recording devices in their rooms so families can keep watch from home.

It's already law in five other states and Attorney General Lisa Madigan wants to make Illinois the sixth.

The proposed legislation would allow residents at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and rehabilitation centers to keep video and audio recording devices rolling in their rooms.

Those who decide to do so must give their own consent, meaning families would need approval from their loved ones in order to monitor them electronically. They would also have to get the OK from any roommates.

Madigan says the law would help ensure the safety of those living at these long-term care facilities.

Nursing home advocates wonder whether this would provide adequate privacy protections and if it would foster responsible regulation.

"In Illinois, we've had a, a sort of 'gotcha system' of regulation in the past," said Matt Hartman, Vice President of Public Policy at the Illinois Health Care Association. "So I wouldn't like anything that is used in that springing a trap sense. I want this to be more of a deterrent than a way to spring fines, spring regulations, and spring citations."

Under Madigan's current proposal, those recordings could be used as evidence in court cases, regardless of whether they are criminal or civil charges.

The legislation is not yet finalized.
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