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New Electronic Monitoring Law Protecting Elderly and Vulnerable Adults in Minnesota

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: January 27, 2020 06:56 PM

We use video surveillance to protect our homes, but now it can be used to help protect our vulnerable loved ones thanks to the new electronic monitoring law in Minnesota.

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The law went into effect on Jan 1. 2020. It's part of the Elder Care and Vulnerable Adult Protection Act of 2019 and is one of a series of protections for elderly and vulnerable adults in Minnesota.

"People have the right to conduct electronic monitoring. It's in the Minnesota Home Care Bill of Rights. The right to do electronic monitoring extends over boarding care homes, nursing homes, housing with services establishment and assisted living," said Cheryl Hennen, the State Ombudsman for Long-Term Care.

"I can see this being a great advocacy tool for residents in the event they feel something is less than ideal or if they have any concerns or reservations and they fear a facility isn't capable of addressing the problem. I see this as a great secondary option," said Marcus Kubichek, the North Shore Estates Northern Regional Director of Social Services.

Major interest in nursing home and assisted living conditions was sparked by families whose loved ones experienced abuse or maltreatment. This led to legislative efforts to get the electronic monitoring law in place.

"Most often the reason the cameras are going in is because there's been a problem that has been unresolved or people question whether or not adequate services are being provided to prevent accidents or to prevent falls," said Hennen.

In order to get the monitoring device, you have to fill out a consent form. The forms are available online. Providers are required to let residents know about this law and have the forms available for them on site.

Many nursing and assisted living facilities in the state made sure they had the documentation ready for the new year.

"The first thing we did was update all the paperwork in our admission packets so when a new resident comes in, it's very clear what paperwork needs to be filled out," said Justin Teal, the North Shore Estates administrator.

If the resident doesn’t have the capacity to make the decision, the law allows their representative to make the decision with them. If the resident has a roommate, they also need consent from them.

The law prohibits interfering with the electronic monitoring device.

"I think it's a good statute I think there's a lot of promise to help support residents and continue doing everything correct in elder care as we should," said Kubichek.

Prior to this law, Hennen said the law was silent. She said people were installing cameras, but there was no guidance or anything to protect residents from other people removing the monitoring device.

If a resident fears retaliation from installing the monitoring device, they are protected. They can install a camera without letting providers know.

"There's a 14 day exemption period that is within the electronic monitoring law that allows you to not give consent and not provide consent forms to your provider. Instead, you provide them to the ombudsman's office," said Hennen.

Minnesota is the seventh state in the United States to have this law in place. The other states with this law are Texas, Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Washington.

To learn more on the new law, click here.

Credits

Alejandra Palacios

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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