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Ombudsman's Report for April 2024

The Ombudsman's Report for April 2024 - Electronic Surveillance in Long-Term Care

By Kathleen Heren, Rhode Island's Long-Term Care Ombudsman 4.12.24

Medicaid Planning Rhode Island
Kathleen Heren

For the past several years the Ombudsman has always objected to cameras (electronic surveillance) being placed in residents' rooms. Until this year I never thought the bills that were proposed gave enough protection for a resident's privacy or their roommate. This year I read Senate Bill S-2263 presented by Senator Euer and was very pleased that all my previous concerns had been addressed.

This bill will provide residents and their legal representatives the option to place a monitoring device in a resident's room. This would allow the resident visual information when the resident is not able to relate their story. It will also exonerate staff when they have been wrongly accused. The bill also provides strict guidelines for camera use. First of all, the roommate has to agree. If the roommate refuses, then the facility must make accommodations for the resident requesting the camera to be able to do so. This could involve a room change.

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Cameras in long-term care rooms

Another rule is a sign must be posted outside the resident room there is electronic surveillance being used. There are consent forms that will have to be signed by the resident or the responsible party of the resident. The roommate will also be asked to sign a consent form. These forms, when signed, will also include a witness to the signing.

Residents' families will be responsible for the cost of the device and the installation fees if there are any. The facility is prohibited from harassing any resident who requests a camera. There are also penalties if an employee tampers with the device by shutting it off during their encounter with the resident. The positive thing that the bill provides is the resident's ability to control the camera when they wish privacy. This could include personal care, private conversations with families, religious representatives, lawyers, and the Ombudsman if the resident wants to report something.

In conclusion, there will be times when any new regulations are passed where mistakes could be made, that’s normal. I am happy I was able to now support this bill. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. If I don’t have the answer you are looking for, I will find someone who can.

Kathleen Heren 

Rhode Island State Long Term Care Ombudsman

Office of the RI State Long Term Care Ombudsman Program 


As the Rhode Island State Long Term Care Ombudsman, Ms. Heren shares her expertise by providing a monthly guest blog to Connelly Law Offices, Ltd. In these blogs, she delves into various issues and topics that she encounters in her role. The insights and opinions expressed in these blogs are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Attorney RJ Connelly III or any of the employees at Connelly Law Offices, Ltd.

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Please note that the information provided in this blog is not intended to and should not be construed as legal, financial, or medical advice. The content, materials, and information presented in this blog are solely for general informational purposes and may not be the most up-to-date information available regarding legal, financial, or medical matters. This blog may also contain links to other third-party websites that are included for the convenience of the reader or user. Please note that Connelly Law Offices, Ltd. does not necessarily recommend or endorse the contents of such third-party sites. If you have any particular legal matters, financial concerns, or medical issues, we strongly advise you to consult your attorney, professional fiduciary advisor, or medical provider.

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