Missouri House discusses cameras in long term care facility rooms

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri House of Representatives heard testimony about a bill Wednesday that would allow patients or their surrogates to install cameras in long term care facility patient rooms.

Martha Eudaley testified in favor of the bill. She said allowing cameras in long term care facilities rooms would give relatives and loved ones peace of mind.

"My husband passed away in 2010 after neglect at a nursing home in St. Louis," Eudaley said. "Ever since then, I've been trying to help our elders and those who are vulnerable get the help they need. I never want anyone else to experience what my husband and I did. Cameras mean that those who care for you the most can always know you're doing okay."

The nursing home that Eudaley identified said it considers the dignity and privacy of its residents the utmost priority. Some worry that cameras in private patient rooms could be a breach of privacy. 

Both Keith Miller's mother and aunt are in long term care facilities. He said he sees how cameras could be both a help and a hindrance. 

"I can see how some people would feel that cameras in patient rooms are invasive," he said. "But on the other hand, if it's your closest family members who are watching you, maybe it's not such a big deal." 

Miller said he doesn't think his aunt would mind a camera in her room, but acknowledged that cameras could create more liability for long term care centers. 

"It seems like if your workers aren't doing anything wrong, then you shouldn't have anything to worry about," he said. "But I also think it would be easy to miscontrue a health workers actions, which could result in big problems for businesses." 

Eudaley acknowledged that the current House bill isn't perfect, but said it's a step in the right direction. 

"I'm sure some people will voice privacy concerns," she said. "But I'm here to say that it's time to do something about this. Elder abuse and neglect happens everyday. Senior citizens and their loved ones have just got to stand up."

There are currently five other states that allow patients or their guardians to place cameras in long term care center rooms.