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Pandemic Prompts New Look at Video Monitoring in CT Nursing Homes

AARP Connecticut is advocating adding video monitoring capability for all nursing-home residents, not only for their protection, but to increase communication options with kin during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Campobello Island/Creative Commons)
AARP Connecticut is advocating adding video monitoring capability for all nursing-home residents, not only for their protection, but to increase communication options with kin during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Campobello Island/Creative Commons)
March 20, 2020

HARTFORD, Conn. - The Connecticut General Assembly is expected to focus most of the remaining session on emergency responses to the new coronavirus pandemic - which may include increasing video monitoring in nursing homes.

House Bill 5444 specifically calls for installing video monitoring devices in the rooms of nonverbal nursing-home residents. But AARP Connecticut State Director Nora Duncan hopes the bill can be expanded to serve all nursing-home residents, particularly to help connect them to loved ones during the COVID-19 outbreak.

"Social distancing does not have to mean social isolation," says Duncan. "This piece of legislation makes it easier for video technology to be used in nursing homes, for both passive monitoring and for virtual visitation."

Duncan notes the legislation was originally intended only for passive monitoring. But AARP Connecticut is pushing backers of the bill to add video and audio communication capabilities for all nursing-home residents - and urging lawmakers to include this measure as part of their emergency response to COVID-19.

Duncan explains that people would have had a chance to weigh in on House Bill 5444 at a public hearing this week.

"So, this is the strange world we live in right now," says Duncan. "It was slated to have a public hearing, and a public hearing is an open public forum held at the General Assembly. That didn't happen because the buildings are closed."

Duncan says the Human Services Committee is still taking comments online. Official business at the Connecticut State Capitol is postponed until at least March 30th, and the regular legislative session ends on May 6th.

If you'd like to know more about how to help an older adult during this pandemic, look online at 'AARP.org/coronavirus' or call 211 to find local services.

Disclosure: AARP Connecticut contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Laura Rosbrow-Telem, Public News Service - CT