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Monitoring Devices and Nursing Home Negligence Prevention

Casey Woodruff

undefinedHow can you know for certain if a loved one has been the victim of nursing home neglect? Installing a video camera or other monitoring system could provide proof of negligence in a nursing home or other facility for the elderly. Such devices aren’t yet legal, but according to a recent press release from the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, the Illinois House of Representatives passed Lisa Madigan’s “proposal to allow nursing home residents and their families to place video or audio monitoring devices in their rooms to help ensure their safety and well-being.”

Installing Cameras to Ensure Resident Safety

House Bill 2462 aims to allow elderly residents to install cameras or other recording devices in their rooms to ensure that they are treated properly. Elder neglect is a serious problem at nursing homes throughout the state of Illinois. However, if staff members and physicians are aware of cameras in each room, they may take greater care when treating patients. Moreover, family members can rest assured that their parents and elderly loved ones aren’t sustaining injuries caused by nursing home negligence.

As stated by Attorney General Lisa Madigan, “placing a loved one in a nursing facility is a difficult decision that many families will face.” And permitting those families to install recording devices in their loved one’s room  “provides an extra layer of security for nursing home residents while giving their families peace of mind knowing that their loved ones are receiving safe, quality care.” The bill received 85 votes in its favor and is now headed to the Illinois Senate. Following the news from the House, Madigan “applauded” those who voted in support of the measure.

Complaints Spur Attorney General’s Interest in Bill

The proposed legislation arose after Madigan’s office received numerous complaints about nursing home abuse and neglect in facilities across the state. Families have significant—and often valid—concerns about the safety of their loved ones, and they want to be able to buy and install either audio or video monitoring devices in their private rooms. If the law takes effect, Illinois will be the fourth state in the country “to explicitly allow electronic monitoring devices to be installed in resident rooms in nursing home facilities.”

Illinois’s population continues to grow older, and the state currently has more than 1,100 nursing home facilities in which more than 76,000 elderly adults reside. That number is projected to increase dramatically over the next 15 years.  Estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau suggest that, by the year 2030, those aged 60 and older will make up more than 22 percent of the total population of Illinois.

Currently, the Illinois Department of Public Health receives more than 21,000 reports of nursing home abuse or negligence each year, and it responds to around 5,000 of those. Of the complaints that receive attention, officials end up identifying more than 100 cases of “abuse, neglect, or misappropriation of property against residents by facility staff.” And if the proposal passes in the Senate, it can be used, as Madigan explains, “as an added tool to help resolve disputes about suspected abuse or negligence.”

Contact an Aurora Nursing Home Negligence Attorney

The ability to record staff behavior at nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Chicago, Champaign, and other areas throughout the state may soon be legal. In the meantime, if you have concerns about an elderly loved one’s safety, or if you suspect your parent could have been the victim of elder neglect, it’s important to contact an experienced Aurora nursing home negligence lawyer about your case. Contact Woodruff Johnson & Evans to learn more about how we can assist you.

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