NOTE: THE LEGISLATION WAS VETOED BY THE GOVERNOR AND DID NOT BECOME LAW.
Unless the Governor vetoes the bill, at some point in the future, Michiganders will be able to virtually peep on their loved ones in nursing homes, much like they do their children in daycare. The new law requires forms to be created and regulations to be issued before it takes effect, making it unlikely that this option will be available any time soon.
The law creates a process for obtaining a resident’s consent, and for determining that the resident is not capable of consenting, when that is the case. The law also provides for “representatives” who can consent (or not) when the resident lacks capacity to speak for themselves, which means estate planning and elder law attorneys will want to specifically address these questions in the patient advocate designations and/or financial POAs they prepare for older clients. The law includes protections for the nursing home resident, the resident’s roommate, as well as for the nursing home industry.
The law expressly allows nursing homes to run their own surveillance systems and charge residents for access to them. My sense is that this will become a marketing tool and that forward thinking facilities will offer this service to a distinguish themselves from their competitors.
The law only covers nursing homes, and leaves assisted living facilities and other unregulated care providers to their own devices (LOL).
I suppose this type of development should evoke some response, for or against. For me, it’s a little of both. Obviously, the law perpetuates negative images of aging as it further equates older adults with children. But on the other hand, as we’ve seen during COVID (Facetime being one example), technology can be used to improve the quality of life for vulnerable adults in institutional care.