Empowering families to advocate for quality nursing home care


Approval for Nursing Home Cameras Held Back


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By Kevin Oliver

Linda Rodezno recently did one of the most difficult things she’s ever had to do: take her mother and admit her into an assisted-living facility.

Her mother Irma has Alzheimer’s and her family has found it progressively more difficult to keep up with her needs.

Despite getting around-the-clock care, Rodezno still worries about what happens when her family is not there.

While surveillance cameras are just about everywhere we go, they are not found within the confines of a bedroom inside nursing homes.

Families like Rodezno and others are fighting to get them installed, but the state of California has yet to give the green light.

“At one point I thought ‘gosh, you know maybe we should go buy like a nanny cam and put in the room because we were concerned about, you know, was she going to get the care that she needed there,'” Rodezno said.

The California Department of Social Services said in February it was working on a new set of rules when it comes to the use of cameras in care homes, and that proposed policy would be complete in a few weeks.

But it has been six months and they are still working on it.

A draft of the policy builds on rules already in place that allow cameras in hallways and lobbies, but there are a lot of other issues when monitoring bedrooms.

The draft policy covers things like who can watch the video, and what happens when someone decides they don’t want to be recorded.

“Yes I think we’ll be ready to release it in September,” said Pam Dickfoss, a deputy director with Social Services. “We’re very close.”

But some issues remain: “How long they keep the tapes, who gets to review the tapes, are they part of the resident’s record. So there’s a lot of very important issues that need to be looked at for this policy to be successful and a good policy for California,” Dickfoss said.

The policy is a high-priority issue for the department, Dickfoss said.

But families like the Rodeznos and the family of Joe Balbas, owner of a San Diego-area home, said that the state should have figured it out by now.

Balbas acknowledged that those within his industry are concerned about liabilities, but said he’s more concerned about care.

“Please hurry up, it’s long overdue. We are not mandating it we are not telling people that everyone has to do it,” Balbas said. “We’re telling you we want to do it. We do know our liabilities, and we made promises. Help us.”

Rodezno agrees: “I think that would be reassuring for us. We would be able to see: Is she getting the proper care that she needs.”