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Electronic Monitoring of Nursing Home Residence - Change in Illinois Law

by Beth K. Flowers, Shareholder

Effective January 1, 2016, residents of nursing homes and care facilities have the ability to place electronic surveillance equipment in their rooms to monitor activity in their room or apartment.  The Authorized Electronic Monitoring in Long Term Care Facilities Act (“Act”) was enacted by the Illinois legislature on August 21, 2015.

Under the terms of this Act, a long term care resident (or an agent or representative of the resident) may install (at the resident’s own cost and expense) an electronic monitoring device (defined as a video camera or an audio recording device or a combination of those two) in a fixed location within a resident’s room or apartment.  The Act contains very specific guidelines for providing notice to the long term care facility and other residents of the facility when such a device is being installed in a room.

To begin, the resident is required to provide written notice to the long term care facility that the resident is going to install such a monitoring device in the resident’s room.  The resident is then required to sign a consent form in the presence of witnesses acknowledging that the resident consented to and understands that there is a monitoring device in the resident’s room.  The form for such a consent is to be drafted and prepared by the Illinois Department of Public Health. 

The long term care facility is required to place notices at the entrance of their facility that some residents may have such monitoring devices and a sign must be posted outside each resident’s room in which such a monitoring device is located.  The Act also requires the consent of a roommate of any resident desiring to install such device within their room.  The Act provides protection to both the resident and the facility related to these devices.  The facility is not civilly or criminally liable for (1) the inadvertent or intentional disclosure of a recording of a resident or (2) for violating a resident’s right to privacy arising out of an electronic monitoring device that was placed in the resident’s room pursuant to the terms of this Act.  The resident is protected in that the facility may not retaliate or discriminate against the resident for installing or consenting to have a monitoring device installed in the resident’s room. 

Beth Flowers is an attorney in the MM&R Edwardsville office who focuses her practice in probate and trust administration, estate planning, real estate law and business law.

Professional Services Disclaimer: Please note that the information presented here is as an educational service, and while it contains information about legal issues, it is not legal advice. No warranty is made regarding the applicability of the information presented to a particular client situation, and the information set forth is not a substitute for original legal research, analysis and drafting for a particular client situation.

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