Can You Put a Camera in a Nursing Home Room in Oklahoma?Can You Put a Camera in a Nursing Home Room in Oklahoma?

Can You Put a Camera in a Nursing Home Room in Oklahoma?

As the population of assisted living and nursing home facilities booms, so does the focus on quality of care. And as more instances of nursing home abuse and neglect come to light, states are increasingly passing laws that allow loved ones to install cameras in residents’ rooms. Currently, about 10 states have laws on the books that specifically allow this practice, including Oklahoma, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas. If you're looking for details on when cameras are allowed in nursing homes, here's what you need to know.

Can You Put a Camera in a Nursing Home Room?

Yes, in Oklahoma you may place a camera in a resident's room in an assisted living facility or a nursing home. Under the The Nursing Home Care Act, it is legal to record audio and video in a resident’s room, as long as you meet two conditions:

  • You must have the resident’s permission
  • You must notify the nursing home in writing

Oklahoma has previously passed laws that established it as a one-party consent state, which means that only one party needs to give consent to make the recording. For example, under the Security of Communications Act, it is legal “to intercept a wire, oral, or electronic communication when such person is a party to the communication or one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to such interception.”

In the case of a camera in a nursing home room, getting permission from the resident fulfills the requirement of one-party consent. That's why you don’t need permission from the nursing home – you only need to notify them.

The Nursing Home Care Act

The Nursing Home Care Act lays out various laws and regulations that long-term care facilities in Oklahoma must follow. The Act covers licensing and certification requirements, hiring practices, safety standards, rules for inspections and violations, and upholding residents’ rights.

When it comes to the question of whether you can put a camera in a nursing home room, there have been two essential updates to the Act. In 2013, the original law allowing cameras in nursing homes was passed, and in 2020 the law was specifically extended to assisted living facilities and other continuing care communities. Some important parts of the law include:

  • 63 O.S. § 1-1956.2: A facility cannot refuse to admit someone, and cannot remove them, if they wish to have or already have a recording device in their room.
  • 63 O.S. § 1-1956.4: A recording that was created by an authorized recording device in a resident’s room may be admitted as evidence in court or administrative proceedings.
  • 63 O.S. § 1-1953.6: The person who wishes to place a camera in a room must notify the nursing facility using a specific consent form from the Oklahoma Department of Health. They must also get consent from any other resident in the room, and that resident is allowed to put limitations on the recording.

If you do find abuse or neglect, you’ll want your recordings to be admissible in court, so it's smart to speak with an experienced nursing home attorney before placing any recording devices in your loved one’s room. They’ll be able to explain the law and ensure you follow the right process.

Tips For Putting a Camera in an Oklahoma Nursing Home

While you legally can put a camera in a nursing home room in Oklahoma, you have to follow the law or the evidence you've collected may not be allowed in court. To do it right, you must:

  • Get Consent From Roommates: The Department of Health provides a template called “Consent by Roommate for Authorized Electronic Monitoring.” The roommate can require conditions like prohibiting audio or having the camera pointed away from them.
  • Notify the Facility: The Department of Health also provides a template called the “Notice to Facility for Authorized Electronic Monitoring.” It should be signed by a legal representative of the nursing home or assisted living facility.
  • Install the Camera Legally: Place the camera in the main living area, never in a bathroom. And be sure to honor any conditions from the roommate, like where the camera is pointed.
  • Review the Footage Carefully: Because you need to notify the care facility, employees will be aware there is a camera in the room and may be on their best behavior. It's important to carefully review the footage regularly and over a long period of time to spot any patterns of neglect, especially if you’re not able to visit in person.

What Else Can You Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse?

The fact that cameras are allowed in nursing homes in Oklahoma can be a powerful deterrent that helps improve quality of life for residents. But it isn't the only thing you can do. If you can, visiting your loved one in person is the best way to prevent nursing home neglect – and to spot any red flags before they become dangerous. During each visit, write down anything suspicious in as much detail as possible and take pictures to back up your statements.

Whether you witness neglect on camera or in person, the first thing to do is to notify the facility’s administrators of your concerns. They may be able to address any health and safety issues, but if they don't, the next step is to file a complaint with the Department of Health Long-Term Care Services division. You can do this by emailing [email protected] or calling 1-800-747-8419.

Whether you're wondering if you can put a camera in a nursing home, or you already have proof of neglect or abuse, an experienced attorney can help you navigate the law. GT Law has more than 30 years of experience with nursing home abuse and neglect cases, and we’re ready to provide the guidance you need. Contact us today for your free assessment.

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