Families of nursing home residents will soon be able to electronically monitor their loved ones thanks to legislation signed into law Monday. Senate Bill 587, by Sen. Ron Justice, will allow nursing home residents to install electronic monitoring devices in their private rooms if that resident or their legal representative pays for the monitoring.
“This measure will give families peace of mind being able to monitor their loved ones and know what’s happening in their rooms at all times,” said Justice, R-Chickasha. “The bill should also help decrease the number of reported cases of suspected abuse and neglect by providing video and audio evidence to support or refute such claims. Therefore, empowering residents and their families and holding nursing facilities more accountable for their staff.”
SB 587, which was approved unanimously by both the Senate and House, requires nursing homes to let current and prospective residents or their legal representatives know about the opportunity for electronic monitoring in their private rooms. The bill prohibits a nursing facility from refusing to admit an individual or from removing a resident because they want their room electronically monitored. The bill further prohibits the obstruction of, or tampering with, an electronic monitoring device installed in a facility. A notice must also be posted at or near a nursing facility’s main entrance stating that electronic monitoring or audio devices may be in use in the facility. Finally, any video or audio recording created through authorized electronic monitoring can be admitted into evidence in a civil or criminal court action or administrative proceeding.
The bill was requested by The Silver Haired Legislature and was strongly supported by AARP Oklahoma, the state’s largest senior organization with over 410,000 members statewide.
SB 587 will go into effect November 1, 2013.