Jim Anderson -- Illinois Radio Network

Illinois lawmakers will again consider a measure to allow nursing home patients to let their families place a camera in their rooms.

The idea is to prevent, or at least document, neglect or abuse, says Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.  “In circumstances where we are not able to go to the nursing facility as frequently as we want, we will be able to visually check in,” she said.  “Are they awake?  Are they asleep?  Are they being fed?  Are they eating their lunch, are they not? So we can know what is going on.”

She says the recordings could be used as evidence in administrative, civil and criminal proceedings, if need be.  She says the nursing home industry as a whole is not bad, but there are thousands of cases of abuse and neglect reported each year, from patients not being fed, bathed or clothed properly, to dehydration, to careless handling to cases of assault.

The measure, sponsored by State Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan), would:

  • Allow for audio and video electronic monitoring devices in nursing homes
  • Prohibit facility retaliation for the use of these devices
  • Provide penalties for anyone who intentionally disables, destroys, obstructs or tampers with the recording devices

Similar legislation has been attempted three times without success, in 2003, 2007 and 2013.  On this latest, the nursing home industry says they’ll look at it.