January 20, 2020
Another State Considers In-Room Monitoring

Are electronic monitoring devices the new norm in nursing homes?

SpecialtyRx breaks down the latest SNF surveillance trends

In the past, we’ve explored the pros and cons of surveillance cameras and similar imaging and recording devices in long-term care facilities. Such measures serve as a form of risk management, helping to improve quality assurance and accountability among staff. Still, others see the practice as intrusive—a violation of residents’ rights to privacy and confidentiality.

For years, HIPAA has set the standard for what types of monitoring are appropriate. But now, individual states are taking more aggressive action.

House representatives in South Dakota debuted a new bill that would allow residents and their families to install in-room surveillance cameras in long-term care facilities. As long as they provide specific details and written consent, providers would have to honor the request. For many, the bill represents a clear move to curtail nursing home abuse.

Balancing privacy and protection

Lawmakers pitched the bill as a ‘win-win’ for all parties. Tim Rave of the SD Heath Care Association echoed their sentiments, saying, “[The] legislation would help set the guard rails to ensure that families, residents and providers are all protected.” While invasion of privacy is always a concern, advocates seem confident that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

So, should other states start installing?

On the surface, granny cams appear to unfairly target caregivers, serving to ‘catch’ instances of abuse or neglect. With big brother watching, staff morale tends to plummet.

Still, others note the benefits of 24/7 surveillance. Recordings can help resolve incident disputes and hold workers accountable, especially when facilities have high turnover rates. And don’t forget—staffers are also vulnerable to physical abuse.

In the end, cameras are a potentially powerful tool for boosting satisfaction on all fronts—from residents and their loved ones to workers, administrators and beyond.