Greenville, SC- A bill that would allow South Carolina residents of nursing homes to install hidden cameras in their rooms has advanced in a Senate subcommittee and could become law.
The bill entitled, Electronic Monitoring of a Resident’s Room in a Long-Term Care Facility, would allow residents to place so-called “Granny Cams” in their rooms if they so choose and would carry penalties for any facility staff who interferes with the cameras or damages them in any way.
The legislation was introduced by Sen. Paul Thurmond, (R-Charleston) who was inspired by a similar bill in Oklahoma after learning of an abuse case in Mount Pleasant.
If Thurmond’s bill becomes law, nursing home residents or their family members who suspect abuse can legally place a hidden camera in their resident’s room and a facility cannot stop them. To sidestep privacy concerns, the law requires the patients to post a notification stating they are being monitored, according to the Post and Courier.
It really puts a lot of power in their hands to be able to have oversight of their care in a way that family can be involved without being there,” Thurmond told the Post and Courier. “The patient can interact where it’s positioned and what it’s going to capture.”
Rick Sellers – chairman of the South Carolina Healthcare Association Board of Directors and administrator for the National HealthCare Corporation in Greenwood—opposes the legislation. Sellers explained to the subcommittee that it was bad policy and would make it difficult for facilities to find staff.
“It undermines the privacy and the dignity of nursing home patients and their doctors, and the nurse practitioners and their caregivers, and frankly their visitors,” Sellers told the panel, according to the Post and Courier. “Cameras in the resident rooms are a breach of confidentiality as well as demeaning, demoralizing and disruptive of the care of these frail and incapacitated human beings.”
Thurmond countered Sellers objections by pointing out if a staff member or facility were acting appropriately then they shouldn’t have to worry about what the camera captures.
“Granny cams” are increasingly being used by families that suspect their elderly loved one is being abuse in a facility. These cameras, which are often hidden in objects like alarm clocks and teddy bears, can expose how staff members treat residents. Sometimes theses cameras reveal a disturbing pattern of abuse that would otherwise go undetected.
Those who advocate for the elderly agree with using cameras as long as privacy concerns are addressed. Resident safety is of utmost importance and these cameras can assure a resident is treated right.
Whether these granny cams are allowed varies from each state and there is hope that South Carolina legislators will pass this law. These cameras can help homes weed out employees prone abusing or neglecting their patients so it’s hard to understand the resistance to the law.
When an elderly person is abused or neglected in a long-term care facility, a South Carolina nursing home abuse attorney can help them end the abuse and seek compensation for their pain and suffering.