Saturday, March 30, 2013

Senate approves electronic monitoring for nursing home residents


When I first saw this I pictured the nursing home residents wearing ankle bracelets to track them around. This bill is actually talking about surveillance in their rooms.

In an effort to provide additional protections for Oklahoma seniors, a measure was approved by the Senate Tuesday to allow residents in nursing homes to install electronic monitoring devices in their private rooms. Senate Bill 587, by Sen. Ron Justice, would allow for such installation if the resident or their legal representative paid for the monitoring.
“Unfortunately, reports of abuse and neglect have become all too common in nursing homes,” said Justice, R-Chickasha. “Families expect their loved ones to receive the highest quality of care in these facilities but they don’t always get what they paid for. This measure will provide them with a tool to monitor the care of their loved one around the clock and hold nursing facilities more accountable.”
The measure was requested by The Silver Haired Legislature and is a priority bill for the AARP Oklahoma, the state’s largest senior organization with over 410,000 members statewide.
SB 587 requires nursing homes to let current and perspective residents or their legal representatives know about the opportunity for electronic monitoring in their private rooms. The bill also prohibits nursing facilities from refusing to admit any potential resident because they want their room monitored or from removing a resident because of authorized electronic monitoring.
Justice noted another important aspect of the bill is that any tape or recording created through the authorized electronic monitoring can be admitted into evidence in a civil or criminal court action or administrative proceeding.
“In some cases, families suspect that their loved one is being abused or neglected but they don’t have enough evidence of such treatment to hold their nursing facility accountable. This bill will empower families by providing them with solid, admissible evidence of such treatment if it exists,” said Justice.
SB 587 now moves to the House.

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