New Law Allows Video Monitoring in Louisiana Nursing Homes

A new Louisiana law allows nursing home residents and their family members to set up video monitoring devices in nursing home rooms under certain conditions.

The law was signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards on May 31.

The Louisiana Nursing Home Association (LNHA), the state’s American Health Care Association (AHCA) affiliate, expressed support for the bill in a statement emailed to Skilled Nursing News.

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“The LNHA worked with the bill’s author and other stakeholders to create several amendments to HB 281 during the legislative process for the 2018 Louisiana Regular Legislative Session,” the statement said. “These amendments help protect the privacy and dignity of our residents, which is our profession’s number one priority.”

The law requires that any resident or surrogate give the nursing home notice of the installation of a monitoring device, as well as the device’s type, function, and use. The monitoring device also has to include a record of the dates and time if it records activity visually.

In addition, the resident has to pay for the device and any installation, operation or removal costs for the device. And if a resident who wants video monitoring shares a room with another patient, that roommate or their surrogate has to give written consent for installing the monitoring device.

It’s not the only state to pass such a law. In late 2016, New Jersey announced a “Safe Care Cam” program that also let relatives rent surveillance cameras for use in skilled nursing facilities, homes for adults with developmental disabilities, and other institutional care settings.

In August 2017, industry groups told Skilled Nursing News that they were satisfied with the protections of the program, but only after some adjustments. LeadingAge New Jersey and the Health Care Association of New Jersey (HCANJ) worked with the office of state Attorney General Christopher Porrino and the state Department of Health to express their concerns about privacy and other issues.

This led to updated guidance on the use of the cameras, including a requirement that potential camera renters must first seek alternate means to settle concerns — such as contacting an administrator — while also receiving warnings about not invading the privacy of their loved ones’ roommates.

“It’s better to do it this way, and have it known, than to have somebody buy their own camera, put it in a stuffed animal, and have it the room and no one knows it’s there,” Theresa Edelstein, regulatory consultant for LeadingAge New Jersey, told SNN at the time.

Written by Maggie Flynn

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