Marilyn Kipps, who secretly placed a camera in her mother's nursing home five years ago, watched Tuesday as a legislative committee unanimously passed a bill that would allow nursing home residents or their family members to put video recorders in their rooms.
“It's the only way you're going to find out what really truly happens when that door shuts,” Kipps said.
Backers are confident Senate Bill 587 will get eventual approval of the full House. It was approved in the Senate 44-0.
Kipps, of Prague, said she secretly put a video camera in her mother's room at a nursing home after she became concerned the woman was always in soiled clothes and bedding when she came to visit.
“The nursing home asked me to remove the camera, and I would not remove it,” she said.
Kipps said she was shocked to see how two aides roughly treated her mother. She said the camera also showed one aide hitting her mother.
Her mother, 92, died four months later.
About the bill
The bill makes it clear that recording cameras may be placed in a nursing home resident's room, either by the resident or a family member. It also would prohibit a nursing home facility from refusing to admit a person who wants a recording camera in the room or remove a resident because a camera is in the room. It also would prohibit the nursing home from removing a camera or obstructing it.
Rep. Harold Wright, R-Weatherford, the House sponsor of the measure, said a nursing home resident's family member or representative could place the camera in the open or conceal it.
While there is no law against putting cameras in nursing homes, the practice of allowing families to place cameras in rooms has been talked about at the Capitol for more than 12 years. Some nursing homes have cameras in common areas, but representatives of nursing homes have said some residents are hesitant to have cameras in their rooms.
Becky Moore, executive director of the Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers, said her group supports any measure that ensures the security and safety of nursing home patients.
“It is also important to understand that when cameras are used, informed consent is the key,” she said. “Protecting the dignity and privacy of our patients must always be considered since a great deal of care takes place at the patient's bedside.
“The most proven and effective way to assure quality and safety is through family involvement in patient care, ongoing staff education, careful screening of potential employees and responsible abuse prevention programs.”