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Electronic Monitoring in Rooms of Nursing Homes a Possibility


South Carolina nursing home residents concerned with their safety or who would prefer that they be electronically monitored by loved ones from afar may soon have that option.

A Senate subcommittee advanced a bill that would allow for residents to place a camera in their rooms, should they feel the need to do so. The bill - Electronic Monitoring of a Resident's Room in a Long-Term Care Facility - would require facilities to make accommodations to comply with a resident's request and penalties for staffers who tamper with the camera or equipment.

Sen. Paul Thurmond, R-Charleston, said he introduced the bill after learning of similar legislation in Oklahoma. His interest was heightened after learning of the abuse of Jesse Lee Wood, an elderly patient at a Mount Pleasant facility, he said. The Post and Courier reported in 2012 details from an arrest report about events captured on a hidden camera, where a staffer of the facility was seen flicking Wood's nose, and reaching through a curtain, grabbing Wood's arm and shaking it.

If Thurmond's bill becomes law, a patient alleging abuse - or a family member with power of attorney who suspects as much - would have the ability to place a camera in a room. And the facility cannot stop them from doing so. 

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