Should Cameras Be Allowed In Nursing Home Rooms?

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Newton, KAN. -- As the number of people in nursing home and assisted living facilities increases, new technology is helping people check on their loved ones.

There are no cameras in the common areas of Asbury Park Retirement Community in Newton. State regulations only allow nursing homes to put cameras in common areas, not in the patient rooms.

However, if a patient's relative wants a web cam in a loved one's room, that can be done, if the family provides the camera and privacy concerns are addressed.

"And if there's a few that live in California and they have guilt issues or guilt issues that they're not here taking care of mom or dad or grandma or grandpa, they can set up a web cam in their rooms", said Asbury Park CEO Tom Williams.

But it's a two way street. Jack Atchison who moved to Asbury park after suffering a stroke uses his computer and camera to communicate with his brother who lives in Virginia. Atchison, with his brother's help, has written a dozen books. "One of the books we wrote was contrasting how my younger brother and I grew up in the 1940's and 1950's with how kids grow up today", Atchison said.

Asbury Park's new buildings will be wired for WiFi and internet access.
Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services Commissioner Joe Ewert said family requested cameras in patient rooms is not a big issue.

And Asbury Park's Tom Williams said most families have young people savvy enough to know how to connect with aging relatives who are taking advantage of the technology. "So it really allows for those families to stay interconnected through skyping through all kinds of means electronically."

With an aging baby boomer population, facilities for the elderly like Asbury Park will more often than not have built in WiFi, and hard line internet access.

The state of Oklahoma passed a law allowing cameras in patient rooms in nursing homes if the relatives request it. Before that law was passed, Oklahoma nursing homes could ban hidden cameras.

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