HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Connecticut House of Representatives on Monday overwhelmingly passed legislation that will let residents of nursing homes install cameras in their rooms, allowing them to be monitored virtually by their families.
While the issue had been raised in previous legislative sessions, it took on new life this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a visitation ban at nursing homes across the state to prevent the spread of disease.
“The pandemic really shined a spotlight on the need for technology in our long-term care facilities,” said Rep. Kathleen McCarty, R-Waterford, noting there are more than 20,000 nursing home residents in the state. “During the pandemic they were left without really any true connection to their families members and their loved ones and technology came to the rescue.”
The bill, which passed on a nearly unanimous vote, now awaits action in the Senate.
Rep. Quentin Phipps, D-Middletown, co-chair of the General Assembly’s Aging Committee, said many groups worked together to help craft the legislation, which he said takes steps to protect residents’ privacy, a point of concern in previous years. Among other things, the bill requires a roommate’s written consent at least seven days before any virtual monitoring technology is installed. If that consent is withdrawn, the resident must stop using the device.