Generally Consent Required
Using Cameras to Monitor Care
California Regulations For Camera Installation
As a general rule, California requires 2-party consent for audio and video recordings. See Cal. Penal Code §§ 632(recording confidential communications without consent is invasion of privacy) and 637.2(penalties on persons recording without consent for invasions of privacy). Under certain conditions, the use of recording/surveillance cameras may be permitted in nursing home rooms to monitor the care of older persons but the rules for doing that require consent and other procedural safeguards, discussed below. According to the California regulations regarding installation of cameras in nursing homes, the nursing home is responsible for applying to the California Department of Social Services to allow the use of cameras in your loved one’s rooms. The home must provide the CDSS with a waiver form detailing which regulation sections the patient is choosing to waive in order to allow for a camera installation. When permitting the use of cameras, the nursing home is required to maintain an updated Plan of Operation with CDSS, describing the video surveillance and outlining how the residents’ privacy and confidentiality will be protected. Further details regarding camera installation are set forth below. If you or someone you know is a victim of nursing home abuse, call the attorneys at Evans Law Firm today at 415-441-8669. Our toll free number is 1-888-50EVANS.
California Regulations Regarding Surveillance Cameras
You may be permitted to install a camera in a nursing home resident’s room in California provided you follow very specific steps established by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and the patient consents to the camera:
- Your loved one’s nursing home will only be allowed to place a camera in his or her rooms after both you, as a family member, and the patient give consent for the nursing home to do so.
- It is important that the resident understand that you want to install a camera for their protection and security and, if they have the capacity, that they consent to the camera in their room.
- If the senior does not have capacity, obtain consent from their Conservator or Agent under a Power of Attorney. The Community Care Licensing Division of the CDSS must approve your consents and waiver before any cameras may be placed within private patient areas.
- The nursing home maintain all video recordings of your elderly loved one in accordance with existing privacy laws.
See Cal. Dept. of Soc. Serv. Guidelines 2-5800 et seq. Consult the regulations before proceeding with any camera installation. Whatever you do, be advised: as a general rule, the use of recording technology in California is prohibited without consent.
Cameras No Substitutes for Visits
Even if you follow all the rules and obtain the necessary consents, a surveillance camera is not a substitute for family involvement and personal monitoring of care. Residents and family members should continue to be as involved as they can be in all aspects of the resident’s life. It is possible that a resident could be treated unfairly outside of his/her room and this may not be recorded on the surveillance camera. With or without a camera, visit your loved one as often as you can and look for signs of abuse or neglect:
- Bedsores/pressure ulcers or other poor skin conditions;
- Bruises and scratch marks;
- Indication of sexual assault, rape, or battery;
- Elopement or wandering off;
- Rapid weight loss;
- Abnormal or withdrawn behavior and unusual silence;
- Prolonged sleep or drowsiness;
- Agitation especially when certain caregivers are present;
- Reluctance to speak when staff is nearby;
- Unsanitary and unclean conditions;
- Fear of being touched.
If you or a loved one been the victim of nursing home abuse in San Francisco or elsewhere in California, contact Ingrid M. Evans at Evans Law Firm at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:email@example.com”>firstname.lastname@example.org</a>. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS.
 You can read the entire regulation here: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2271047-office-functions-surveillance-guidelines.html