Earlier this month, a Minnesota Senate panel approved a new bill that would allow the use of electronic monitoring devices inside nursing home and assisted living facility rooms. The bill, which is meant to prevent maltreatment, was proposed amid a rise in complaints of elder abuse, The Star Tribune reported.
According to Pioneer Press, the newspaper of St. Paul, Minnesota, The Minnesota Health Department (MDH) only performed on-site investigations for 10 percent of the 3,400 allegations against nursing homes and home-care treatment in 2016. The number of investigations was even lower for claims reported by the nursing homes, the article revealed. These numbers have improved through a partnership with The MDH and the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the MDH reported in May 2018.
The new bill explicitly gives the families or representatives of nursing home residents the right to place security cameras in residents’ room providing consent by the inhabitant or inhabitants is given, the bill’s text states. Additionally, the facility is notified, except in cases where the resident’s representative fears retaliation.
“We must be doing all we can to protect elderly and vulnerable Minnesotans, and this is a big step forward,” Senator Karin Housley, chairwoman of the Senate Family Care and Aging Committee, who authored the legislation, said in a statement released by the Minnesota State Republican Caucus. “Putting into law that electronic monitoring is allowed, and explicitly prohibiting retaliatory action against facility residents, is long overdue.”
The measure will go to the Senate Judiciary Committee next; the Minnesota House is considering similar legislation, Minnesota Public Radio reported.
If the bill passes, Minnesota will join several other states with laws allowing electronic monitoring in nursing homes, including New Mexico, Texas and Washington. Similar legislation was signed into effect in Louisiana last May.
Hopefully, more families of nursing home and assisted living residents can place cameras to prevent or capture incidents of abuse and negligence.