State Approves Security Cameras in Patient Rooms at Assisted Living Homes

Vista advocate has been fighting for cameras for years

From police officer body cameras to nanny cams, we are seeing cameras used more and more as a way to help provide accountability.

Now they're an option in patient rooms at senior care homes.

Joe Balbas is co-owner of Vista Gardens, a local facility for Alzheimer's disease and dementia patients. He's been pushing for cameras, saying elderly patients in assisted living facilities should have the option of having security cameras in their room.

“This was based on safety,” he said.

Previously under California law, cameras were only used to monitor residents in common areas such as hallways or dining facilities. But on Friday, the department issued new guidelines allowing in-room cameras as long as the patient and their families agree to it.

Click here to see the new guidelines.

“What they (the Department of Social Services) have done for these families in California is unbelievable,” Balbas said. “They have provided another layer of protection for the loved ones.”

Balbas has been trying to get in-room cameras approved by the Department of Social Services for nearly five years. Click here to watch NBC 7 Investigates' original story.

The process took time because, as a spokesperson for the Department previously told NBC 7 Investigates, there were privacy concerns.

Now, before in-room cameras can be used, each family has to sign a waiver, which then has to be approved by the state's Community Care Licensing Division.

“We've been assured they are going to process these as soon as they can,” said Balbas. His facility is currently home to 60 patients, and each one of their families have already agreed to turning the cameras on, he said. Once the paperwork is approved, he said he hopes to get the cameras up and running in just a few weeks.

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