Oregon is not one of the five states in the nation that now allow the installation of audio and video surveillance equipment in the rooms of patients residing in nursing homes. In recent years, some families have secretly placed such equipment in the rooms elderly loved ones residing in these institutions. In some instances, intentional abuse by nursing home staff against helpless patients was shockingly documented. The proof was then sometimes used by victims to support a claim for damages suffered from the nursing home neglect and abuse.

In one state, legislation authorizing electronic surveillance in nursing home rooms was signed by the governor on Aug. 21. The legislation is typical of similar laws in four other states. These laws require the permission of the patient and the patient's roommate for the surveillance. Family members can give permission on behalf of the patient if a doctor verifies that the resident is incapable of doing it.

The resident must pay for the equipment and the installation. However, the state of Illinois will apply $50,000 per year to a fund that will purchase and install such systems for residents who win a lottery drawing. The law includes provisions that prohibit nursing home administrators or others from destroying or interfering with the equipment or the disks produced.

Access to solid proof of nursing home neglect is a new development that could bring about great changes in the industry. For one thing, services to residents will be improved in the long run as administrators realize that their performance is being monitored. Additionally, residents will likely be protected substantially from the shocking episodes of sexual abuse and other assaultive behavior committed on them by nursing home staff in recent years. Moreover, this may be a good measure for evaluation and debate by the Oregon legislature and those in other states at some point in the future.

Source: news.nurse.com, "Illinois law allows nursing home residents to install surveillance equipment", Aug. 26, 2015