State Senate Rejects Video Cameras In Nursing Homes
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 7, 2003
JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI--The state Senate rejected a controversial proposal Wednesday that would have allowed video cameras and audio monitoring devices to be installed in the rooms of nursing home residents, the Associated Press reported.
The measure was written in response to family members who are concerned about alleged abuse and neglect by nursing home staffs. Lawmakers supporting the bill said such monitoring devices would protect patients and good nursing homes alike. Installation of the monitors would be voluntary and would need approval from the residents or their families.
"This will allow a family to monitor their own vulnerable family members as they choose," said Senator Deborah Dawkins, who sponsored the proposal.
Those opposing the bill argued that many families are worried more about the lack of privacy for their loved ones who could be watched at any time.
Others argued that the current problem has to do with nursing home staffs not personally checking in with residents on a frequent basis. That problem would only get worse, they said, because staff will rely on TV monitors and video displays to watch patients.
"Let's don't depend on cameras, video screens or any other means," said Senator Terry Burton. "Let's depend on the staff."
The Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would allow nursing homes to start training prospective new employees while a criminal background check is in progress. Current law does not allow health care facilities to hire anyone until the background check is completed.
The measure goes to the state House for consideration.