Activists push for legislation that would allow cameras in nursing home rooms

A local organization is pushing for more transparency in nursing homes.

Seniors of Urban Living, also known as the Soul Network, is calling on lawmakers to pass a bill allowing cameras inside nursing homes.

Founder Sandra Thomas is pushing for the bill.

She has questions about the level of care her uncle received and said allowing cameras inside rooms will provide more oversight.

“With a camera in the room, we can keep a watchful eye on what is going on,” Thomas said.

Nine states have laws that permit installing cameras in residents’ rooms, according to 2020 data from the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care for the National Center on Elder Abuse.

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Each state has different laws on who has to consent before installation.

Channel 9′s Anthony Kustura spoke with Thomas as well as Shaleiah Sanders, who lost her grandmother two years ago and believes that her grandmother was left unattended and died according to health documents.

“Her name explains her; she was a true pearl. She was a gem,” Sanders said. “She went without CPR; she could have been revived.”

Like Thomas, Sanders is putting pressure on state lawmakers to write and pass a bill allowing cameras in nursing home rooms for patients and their families who want them. As of now, each facility decides whether or not a camera is used; Sanders says she wasn’t given an option.

“Just imagine if we had the camera in that room, we could’ve noticed she was unattended and was having a medical emergency,” Sanders said.

Thomas’ driving force is her late uncle, whom she believes was abused and neglected at another care facility.

“He was a wonderful uncle, he was a wonderful son, and he was a wonderful brother, and he didn’t deserve that,” Thomas said.

Thomas told Channel 9 that the Soul Network is in the beginning stages of drafting a bill with lawmakers. She says her goal is to at least make cameras an option, and only family members would have access to the feeds

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