Residents of nursing homes in Oklahoma may now have video surveillance cameras installed in their private rooms at their own expense under legislation that became effective in the state November 1.

Senate Bill 587, which passed unanimously, requires nursing homes to notify prospective residents about the opportunity for electronic monitoring in their private rooms.

The bill provides that nursing facilities may not refuse to admit residents or remove current residents based on authorized electronic monitoring. A nursing home must also “post at or near its main entrances a sign that clearly states that electronic monitoring and audio devices may be in use in the facility.”

In addition, the law provides that any tapes or recordings created through the use of authorized electronic monitoring may be admitted into evidence in a civil or criminal court action or administrative proceeding.

“This measure will give families peace of mind being able to monitor their loved ones and know what’s happening in their rooms at all times,” state Senator Ron Justice, who sponsored the bill, said in a May 2013 press release after the bill was signed into law.

“The bill should also help decrease the number of reported cases of suspected abuse and neglect by providing video and audio evidence to support or refute such claims. Therefore, empowering residents and their families and holding nursing facilities more accountable for their staff,” Justice said.