Bill adds surveillance cameras to nursing homes

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OKLAHOMA CITY--Homeowners and business owners often use surveillance cameras as a measure of security.

Now, one advocacy group says they should be used in our state's nursing homes as well.

Wes Bledsoe is the founder of A Perfect Cause, an organization dedicated to ending abuse in nursing homes.

Bledsoe said, "Residents when they're in these facilities, right now we don't know what's happening to them. And we have residents that we know are being abused by staff."

He says families have a right to know what goes on behind the walls of these facilities.

He said, "Well this is Senate Bill 587 and we refer to it as the Protect Our Loved Ones Act, or POLO Act."

SB587 would require nursing homes to provide surveillance cameras in the residents' rooms if families want it.

Bledsoe said, "It would provide video monitoring, video only, in the common areas as well as the residents' rooms. It would also provide audio monitoring, which is recommended by the silver-haired legislature, audio monitoring in the bathrooms and bathing areas."

Last year, we told you the story of Arietta Mayberry's family.

They put a hidden camera in her nursing home room after suspecting things were being stolen.

Instead, they discovered abuse.

Bledsoe said, "Because of what they did, helped intervene and stop these women from abusing these residents and so no telling how many more residents they saved from being abused by simply having that camera there."

Senator Brian Crain heads the Health and Human Services Committee, the committee that would hear this bill.

He says he is concerned about how this legislation could affect the nursing homes.

Crain said, "If we make them put in these video cameras, how expensive is that going to be and is that going to cause them to have to close their doors because they can't afford to do this?"

But Bledsoe says the cost would be minimal and would definitely be worth it.

He said, "The preventable deaths that we have, the easily ridiculous preventable deaths we have in these facilities, those can go away."

Crain says he is waiting on more information from our state's nursing homes before deciding whether his committee will hear the bill.

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