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What Does Ohio Say about Cameras in Care Assisted Living Facilities?

Esther’s Law was signed into law by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. The new legislation allows cameras and other electronic monitoring devices to be installed by residents or their families or guardians inside a resident’s room at a care facility such as assisted living.

WLWT’s recent article entitled “Esther’s Law to allow for cameras to be installed in Ohio nursing homes” reports that the law is named after Esther Piskor. Her family says they placed a known camera inside her Cleveland nursing home room and repeatedly caught Piskor suffering abuse by the staff.

The law officially goes into effect on March 23, 2022. However, organizations are already getting ready for its implementation. Residents and their families are encouraged to install devices before that date, if and where possible.

The law requires permission to be given by the resident or family member or guardian and any possible roommates. The assisted living facility resident and their respective families or guardians are responsible for supplying, installing and the upkeep of the camera or monitoring device.

One Ohio facility, Twin Lakes Senior Living Community in Montgomery, reports about 430 residents with 190 staff members. The assisted living facility currently has just one resident with a camera in their room. The nursing home says that cameras installed with consent will also be accompanied by a sign alerting people of a recording in process.

Twin Lakes Executive Director Lisa Zimmer says she is supportive of Esther’s Law and encourages families to take multiple steps to ensure patients’ safety beyond cameras in the room.

“I think it’s a good thing,” Zimmer said. “Because it’s really important for people to have peace of mind. And for them to have the ability to take action if they have a concern. And some communities may have not been interested in doing this for fear of litigation or for fear of violating the residents’ privacy, or not understanding who would be required to do the upkeep. There’s a lot of reasons that communities may have not already wanted to do this. And I think it’s just it’s going to really help even the playing field.”

In addition to installing devices if deemed necessary, Zimmer also recommends people set up consistent meetings with their loved one’s health care teams to monitor their progress, treatment and address any issues.

Esther’s Law says that only the assisted living residents, the resident’s guardian, power of attorney and law enforcement may review any video, still images, or sound. Zimmer also said her staff may review footage, only if given permission by the resident. She commented that if someone is interested in buying a camera, they should note its storage capacity to prevent the footage from deleting itself after a certain number of days.

Reference: WLWT (Jan. 4, 2022) “Esther’s Law to allow for cameras to be installed in Ohio nursing homes”