Proposed bill would allow electronic monitoring in nursing homes

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - House Bill 1056 was recently introduced and would, "authorize electronic monitoring of residents in assisted living centers and nursing facilities."

A proposed House bill would allow for electronic monitoring in nursing homes and other assisted living facilities.

The bill says "a resident or the resident's authorized representative may install or provide for the installation of an electronic monitoring device in the resident's room."

The "electronic monitoring device" used would be a closed loop, video surveillance system that could be placed in a person's room.

Some people who work with the elderly can see the benefits of another tool.

"What this bill says is it would just be for the room-- the bedroom, the living quarters that that guest is in," said Dr. Pat Jones, Managing Director of Adult Day Center of the Black Hills. "And if they are not supposed to leave the room at a certain time, or if they are supposed to be asleep, or whatever, this would at least provide verification."

Jones also thinks this bill could provide peace of mind for worried loved ones.

"I think it would be another layer of security that families would have in making sure that they're loved ones are taken care of," said Jones. "If this bill goes into law, you may see nursing homes and other places see it as a great marketing tool. And say, we can provide this to you."

One of the main drawbacks to this bill could be privacy concerns-- if and when the equipment should be turned off in private moments, during baths, changes of clothing, meetings with spiritual advisors, as well as who has the authority to turn it on and off.

"I think if someone fights against this and is afraid of it, people are going to say, 'well, what do you have to hide?'" said Jones. "Monitoring and safety is a big thing right now and I think people may just have to embrace it."