Runestad petition calls on nursing homes to allow cameras in rooms

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Runestad announced Tuesday that he has prepared a petition calling for nursing homes to allow residents to install cameras in their rooms.

By signing the Nursing Home Cameras Petition, residents would call on nursing homes, members of the Legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to support Senate Bill 77, Runestad’s measure that would establish that a resident of a nursing home facility or their representative would be permitted to monitor their own private room using an electronic monitoring device under certain conditions.

“Cameras can act as a deterrent to some of the most heinous behavior taking place, and they can give peace of mind to family members worried about the care of their loved ones,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “If an episode of abuse does happen and is caught on tape, legal video evidence can be used to bring justice to the abusers.”

Runestad’s petition was sparked by a video recently made public of a 20-year-old Detroit nursing home resident beating his 75-year-old roommate on May 15.

“It shouldn’t take a viral video of abuse or a global pandemic to convince our leaders that we ought to be protecting our seniors,” Runestad said. “It’s long past time we do something to protect nursing home residents from abuse.”

Under SB 77, residents and their families would pay for and oversee the cameras. If a resident’s living space is a shared one, all roommates would have to consent to having a camera. Signs would have to be posted in the facility and the room itself to make it very clear that a camera is present. Additional provisions would allow the curtaining of cameras for medical procedures and other sensitive times to protect privacy.

“I urge everyone to sign this petition to let leaders in Michigan know that residents should be allowed to install a camera in their nursing home if they wish,” Runestad said. “Make your voice heard now!

Residents can sign the petition here.