First up in the news for nurses this week is a look at what the state of Illinois is doing to protect nursing home patients from abuse. The Illinois Department of Public Health and state legislators enacted the new law, becoming the fifth state to do so. It specifically allows residents in long-term care facilities to install their own video and audio monitoring equipment in their rooms.

Nursing Home Staff May Not Tamper

nursing-home-security-camerasThe law, called the Authorized Electronic Monitoring in Long-Term Care Facilities Act, will also create a fund to award such monitoring to patients or their families who cannot afford to purchase such systems on their own. It will also make it specifically illegal to hinder the installation of these systems or tamper with them in any way by nursing home staff and their agents.

The state gets nearly twenty thousand reports of abuse in long-term care facilities each year. Regulators are only able to actively investigate a small fraction of the reports. The hope is that by making facilities and staff aware of the potential for monitoring their care of residents, the standard of care will be raised and the reports of abuse will go down. The law will officially take effect this coming January 2016.

Will Law Change Level of Care?

There are a lot of questions that you might have about this law and how others like it might apply to you as a nurse in such a facility. Will it affect the level of care you give? Hopefully, there isn’t a problem with the care you’re giving to begin with, right? So there should be no concerns about this.

Honestly, as a paramedic, I’ve been dealing with public recording of my patient care on accident scenes and other public spaces for a while now. Other first responders like police officers are constantly in the news for good and bad reasons because of such recordings.

Technology offers patients an opportunity to monitor their care effectively so that they and their family members ensure the quality of care they will receive. I see no problem with this. If it improves staff accountability in long-term care facilities, it’s a good thing.

Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Chronic Pain Management With Opioids and Episode 361.

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