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Bill protecting elderly patients passes Senate

OKLAHOMA CITY — If you have a loved one in the nursing home, legislators are working to make it easier for you to prove whether they’re being abused.

Tuesday, the Protect Our Loved Ones Act was passed unanimously by the State Senate.

Nursing homes are supposed to be safe places where our loved ones go for care we can’t give, but for Wes Bledsoe, that turned into a nightmare when his grandmother was neglected.

“At her grave site I vowed to never allow another nursing home resident to die like that again, and I’m still working on it,” Bledsoe said.

More than a decade of working with his group called A Perfect Cause, he’s one step closer.

Senators voted unanimously in favor of Bill 587.

It allows families and patients to choose if they want a surveillance camera in the room and common areas. Audio monitoring can be placed in bathrooms as well.

“In the last 13 years I’ve seen horror story after horror story that families and their loved ones have endured, and if we only had video monitoring, we could have found out who did it,” said Bledsoe.

A hidden camera captured this abuse of Eryetha Mayberry 2011.

Gloves were seen wadded up and forced in the 96-year-old woman’s mouth.

While the Oklahoma Association of Healthcare Providers said one case of abuse is too many, some are concerned with privacy when it comes to the bill.

“We have concerns about a camera accidentally getting shots of someone having bedside care that really don’t want to have that done for them, you know, that don’t want to be one camera,” said Rebecca Moore with the Oklahoma Association of Healthcare Providers.

Those with loved ones in care right now say the bill  would hold nurses and workers accountable.

“Whatever can make it proper will be fine, but if it can just be something to make them feel safer,” Calvin Tillman said.