Sen. Housley renews push for monitoring cameras at nursing homes, care facilities

At the Minnesota Capitol, there’s a renewed push to allow monitoring cameras in the rooms of loved ones in a nursing home or care facility.

It’s one of the ideas that’s come out of discussions among lawmakers and families in the past year as a way to battle elder abuse - a hot topic for people who already have a parent or loved one in a nursing home or assisted living center.

The issue was debated in hearing after hearing at the legislature last year, and now Sen. Karin Housley is taking another crack at it.

“Right now it’s not clear in the law whether you can have a camera in your room or not have a camera in your room,” Sen. Housley said. "Some family members are putting a camera in and the facilities are taking it down. So, this actually puts some parameters that are data practices that allows the residents to put the camera in their room and it will be legal.”  

At Monday’s hearing, representatives of nursing homes and advocacy groups said they’ve been working to refine this bill since last fall, and they believe it goes a long way to offer the right protections.

“Electronic monitoring can be a helpful tool to prevent maltreatment of older adults,” said Libbie Chapuran with LeadingAge Minnesota. “It can also improve the care and communications between family members and the providers of that care.”  

The bill says the resident must give written consent to have a camera in their room. If they have a roommate, they too must give written consent. The resident or family must pay for the camera and its operation. The bill also makes it illegal to knowingly interfere with the camera without permission.

The bill has now unanimously passed through three senate committees and heads to the senate floor. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said it’s his goal to bring it up for a vote as soon as possible.