Monitoring allowed in long-term care centers

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BISMARCK, N.D. - North Dakota lawmakers have passed a bill allowing electronic monitoring services at long-term care facilities.

Both residents and administration at Knife River Care Center say it's beneficial that electronic monitoring is now an option.

Olive Brown Stillson's daughter, Linda Batchelor likes to keep a close eye on her 98-year-old mother.

Linda's sister is their mother's guardian. They had cameras in her home before she moved to Knife River Care Center in Beulah.

"Knowing that she could put cameras in here to watch her all the time and make sure that she is being taken care of her properly, that was a real bonus," said Batchelor.

Batchelor lives in Arizona. She says now that camera monitoring is a resident's right, people who go through the process will be in the loop.

"She can let me know in Arizona what's happening with her day to day and even if my sister can't get here every day, which she can't, it makes it easier for us to know what's going on with her," said Batchelor.

Individuals can request the monitoring service if they live in a long term care facility by power of a attorney, or at the request of a guardian.

"It was put in as a right of the resident, so it's not a responsibility of the facility, it doesn't fall onto the facility, it's really on the resident to initiate it, to do the paperwork, to absorb the cost," said the North Dakota Long-Term Care ombudsman Karla Backman.

Knife River Care Center sent out this letter to families, sharing the option. Backman says facilities can have some of their own policies and installation plans for the monitoring services.

"A lot of time and detail went into drafting individual policies and procedures that were going to be applicable if a family, or a representative were to request this type of surveillance here at Knife River," said Seth Fisher of Knife River Care Center.

One thing that's also spelled out, if those in long-term care share a room with another resident, their dignity must be maintained.

Families say they like having this option because now, they can keep a closer eye on their family members.

Knife River Care Center was one of five nursing homes with a pattern of health and safety violations we reported in July.

Fisher says they've made improvements and are no longer under enhanced monitoring.