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Illinois lawmakers want to focus cameras on nursing home abuse

Surveillance cameras seem to be everywhere you go in Chicago, but one place you will not find them is in assisted living facilities and nursing homes. That might soon change if the governor signs legislation making Illinois only the fourth state to legalize audio and video monitoring in residents' rooms.

State officials supporting the new law claim it would provide valuable evidence of nursing home neglect by nursing home staff or elder abuse for use by law enforcement agencies. It could also provide exculpatory evidence to help medical professionals and nursing home staff defend themselves against allegations of elder abuse, medication error or nursing home negligence.

Administrators at local elder care facilities challenged the new legislation on privacy grounds. Although the law requires consent of all residents of a room before any one of them may install a camera or other video and audio recording devices, nursing home officials are concerned about residents who are not mentally competent. In those cases, consent would be given by a family member and not from the person whose privacy is being infringed upon.

Of 5,000 complaints made to state officials about nursing home abuse, nursing home neglect or theft by nursing home staff at the almost 900 nursing homes in the state, 106 were proven to be valid. Government officials urging the governor to sign the bill believe recording devices will help investigators to ensure a reasonable standard of care for nursing home and assisted living residents.

Regardless of what happens with the new law, if you or a family member has suffered nursing home injuries due to elder abuse, slip and falls, or being mistreated by a nursing home, a Cook County premises liability attorney might be of assistance to you. The attorney should be able to offer legal advice and guidance on possible remedies available to you.

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