California mulls assisted living cameras

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California may allow some form of videotaping in assisted living facilities, following mounting pressures from concerned families and positive outcomes from an Orange County facility that installed the devices years ago. 

The state Department of Social Services has never actually forbid such devices, but it never has explicitly permitted them either, according to published reports. 

One San Diego memory care center was forced to disable video cameras it installed in private rooms after the state refused to approve its license, presumably over privacy concerns. One facility – Irvine Cottages – installed cameras more than 15 years ago and has had very positive results, gerontologist Jacqueline DuPont told KCRA News

Now the department is taking a second look, with a mindful eye on individual residents' right to grant permissions for such devices. 

"We view these as people's homes, and we want people to have rights in their own home and balancing that between a business and a residence is something we have to be very careful about," Michael Weston, a spokesman for the Department of Social Services, told the news outlet. 

Cameras in nursing homes should not be overused and providers should focus on communication, a LeadingAge executive cautioned in the fall. 

New Jersey is now considering a law that would allow nursing home residents to hide such devices in their rooms but require the resident to consent to being recorded and the facility to be informed – a measure that would reportedly indemnify the facility from civil liability. 

At least a dozen states have considered similar measures since 2000, and four states – New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington – now have such laws on the books allowing video recording by nursing home residents, according to Pew Charitable Trusts.