Bill would require video cameras in OK nursing homes

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Updated: 2/04/2013 9:31 am Published: 2/01/2013 8:01 pm

Tulsan Brandi Myers likes the premise behind Senate Bill 587, also known as the "Protecting Our Loved Ones" Act, which would put video cameras in nursing home resident rooms and common areas if it is passed.

“I think as much as we pay for the nursing homes I think that we should definitely have something of that nature,” Myers told FOX23.

Her 84-year-old grandma lives in an area nursing home. She has Alzheimer’s, and Myers’ family isn't always there to help her.

“If she was to fall or something of that nature, that would be really more reassuring, something on video verses just hearsay,” she said.

Wes Bledsoe runs A Perfect Cause, a statewide advocacy group for nursing home resident rights, and he is also a big supporter of the bill.

“Video monitoring can protect the residents. It can protect the industry. It can protect employees. It can protect owners,” he told FOX23.

Bledsoe recalled a case in January in Muskogee when a son of a resident at Broadway Manor nursing home told Muskogee Police he believed his mother was sexually assaulted while staying there.

“If there had been cameras in those rooms, I don't think it would have ever occurred to them to abuse those people because they know knew they would be on camera,” Bledsoe said.

In that case and many others, patients may not have their mental faculties or the ability to communicate. Often these cases are hard to investigate and prosecute.

“How else can we tell without the use of video monitoring?” Bledsoe asked.

That's why Myers is solidly in favor of Senate Bill 587.

“We just don't know what know what happens behind closed doors. We just don't know.”

When it comes to the cost of installing the cameras, Bledsoe says the State Senator proposing the bill has a plan.

“We’re proposing in the bill that cost be reimbursed back to the faculties through a program right now called “Focus on Excellence.”

That state program right now gives nursing homes in the Sooner State about $1 million a month.

Beyond the cost some nursing homes told FOX23 that privacy is their big concern when it comes to SB587.

“I don't think that that should really be the issue. I think the safety is really what we're looking for,” Myers said.

While all nursing home rooms would have a cameras, families or residents could opt out of having the camera turned on to protect their privacy.

“I think you can never be too safe when it comes to kids or the elderly just because they're at that crucial age where some people can't talk.”

Bledsoe knows while safety is a benefit, people who don't like the premise of the Senate Bill 587 already have their weapons to try and defeat it.

“Privacy is an issue, as well as the cost is an issue.”

Senate Bill 587 is scheduled to have its first reading next week. To read the full text of Senate Bill 587, click here:

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Dorothy - 3/1/2013 11:19 AM
1 Vote
A picture tells a thousand words. If we can see what is happening to our loved ones in Nursing Care, then we will know what is really the truth and what is really happening. I want one when I need to enter any Nursing Home. Dorothy

hsas1947 - 2/4/2013 12:46 PM
1 Vote
That is a great idea. Maybe it would have protected my sister who was in a nursing home when she went into a hypoglycemic coma with anoxic brain injury and respiratory failure on April 16, 2012. She was to get Glucagen shot for severe hypoglycemia but instead they gave oral glucose gel to an unresponsive patient and waited 20 min to call their contract ambulance company and it was 15 min more by the time they got to her. So there was a 35 min period while she was sinking into a coma and having severe respiratory distress. The nursing home refused to talk to us and I had to do a lot on my own to get copies of records and find out what happened that morning because they falsified the chart and said they gave Glucagen. At a time when I should have been getting info about everything that happened for the doctors at the acute care hospital ICU, I had to fill out forms for records and wait for the PA Health Dept to tell me that Glucagen was not given. This took an additional month while she stayed in an unresponsive state. I finally had to remove her from life support and she died on July 24, 2012 due to worsening problems. The PA Health Dept did not even find anything wrong with them not following the Doctor's order for Glucagen and not calling 911 for an ambulance right away. The nurse must be totally inhumane to allow a patient to suffer for 35 min rather than do the right thing. I now have a small claims suit pending against them for funeral expenses paid out of pocket because there is nothing else I can do to try and punish them for destroying my sister's brain and causing her death. She was there for rehab and wound care with about two weeks to go after being in various hospials (acute care, LTACH, rehab, and nursing home) for six months. They never did tell me what happened that morning so maybe a cam would have given me the answer.
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