A Minnesota Senate committee took testimony Wednesday concerning the use of video surveillance in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, often referred to as “granny cams.”

North Mankato State Senator Nick Frentz.

“Partly to allow families to monitor their loved ones while they’re away,” explained North Mankato State Senator Nick Frentz, “And partly to deter any conduct of abuse or neglect by the staff of those facilities.”

Last year, the Minnesota Department of Health spent months clearing a backlog of elder and vulnerable adult mistreatment complaints.

Frenz added that, “It would require consent, of course, from the resident or from a guardian or family member who has a power of attorney.” He added that if the resident has a roommate that person would also have to give consent.

There were privacy issues raised, and Frentz said they mainly surround notification of caregivers and staff. “Some advocates for the residents are putting these cameras in specifically to see about possible instances of abuse and neglect, so they sure don’t want to tell the facility that there is a camera there. The facilities correctly point out that there is a deterrent effect know there is a camera and this should reduce the incidents,” he said.

Ten other states have passed laws that allow their use with the consent of the patient or their guardian.