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: http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.us/cf_pdf/2013-14%20INT/SB/SB187%20INT.PDF