Connecticut nursing homes could be required to increase their on-hand supply of personal protective equipment and allow residents or their families to install cameras in their rooms, if recommendations made by a state advisory committee are finalized. 

The state’s nursing home oversight panel last week unveiled its recommendations to reform long-term care facilities in response to the severity of the COVID-19 public health crisis, CT Mirror reported. Specifically, the group recommended that providers allow for the installation of so-called “granny cams” in resident rooms, increase personal protective equipment supply from one-month to three-months’ worth, and implement quarterly fittings of N95 masks as opposed to on an annual basis. 

State providers have previously opposed surveillance cameras in rooms due to privacy concerns. They echoed those same worries following the advisory group’s recommendations. 

“When it comes to the cameras, we’ve always been very concerned and wanted to make sure that any [legislation] addressed notice, and consent of the resident and anyone else who might be captured by video or audio,” Mag Morelli, president of LeadingAge Connecticut, told the news agency.  

“With technology these days, the breaches of privacy would be a real concern for us, and how do you contain that,” Morelli said. 

Surveillance cameras also may discourage employees from working in nursing homes, added Matthew Barrett, president and CEO of the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities. 

“We do have an overarching concern that a technology approach that is negatively focused on surveillance of employees will make nursing home jobs much less attractive at a time when we have so much work to do to enhance the status of these caregivers and their profession,” Barrett said.

Last year, Ohio and South Dakota lawmakers introduced legislation to allow surveillance cameras in resident rooms.

The group also suggested that providers should make infection-control positions full-time and mandate training and adopt essential caregiver policies, which could allow them more access to residents than with traditional visits. 

The advisory committee is expected to share more legislative reform recommendations next week, according to the report.