Are Video Cameras Allowed in Assisted Living Facilities in Illinois?

The Illinois governor signed a law regarding the installation of surveillance and monitoring cameras in nursing homes as a support to the growing demand for assisted living facilities in the state. However, assisted living community management have also established their own policies on allowing clients to install monitoring video cameras for their seniors sent to their care.

Are video cameras allowed in assisted living facilities in Illinois? Video cameras are allowed in the state, though specific regulations need to be followed. The procedures installed by the law and the management of assisted living facilities are reviewed to bring a positive outcome for both parties.

Security Video Camera

Importance of Video Cameras for Community Security

The National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) details around 30,000 assisted living communities throughout the US. With a vast number of elderlies who requested and needed assisting living, having a security system placed in the form of a surveillance camera is a requisite to maintain security and safety.

However, specific community policies have their own provisions on how these cameras are set up, whether they are allowed inside rooms of elderlies under their care or not.

Round-The-Clock Surveillance

Nonetheless, the need for round-the-clock surveillance is of utmost importance, especially with assisted living communities in Illinois and in the US assisted living and nursing homes in general. NCAL has recorded around 22% of the total number of assisted living communities in the Midwest region of the US, where over half of them operate in chains and branches across the country. 

As located in the Midwest, Illinois is enjoying support from the federal and state government. They have received a lot of assisted living communities to shelter older individuals who need special medical attention.

In this situation, the establishment of medical facilities dedicated to the sick and elderly requires total attention. All those who have registered for their services are under the responsibility of the community. Thus, it is highly essential to keep watch of them at all times, not necessarily by the cameras but by those who worked and cared for their elder clients there.

Also, the demand for video cameras in assisted living facilities is prompted by the children and relatives of the clients. They believe that some of these communities do not adequately monitor and that abuse and violence occur.

Common Policies on the Use of Video Cameras for Monitoring Purposes

Surveillance Camera

The current policy followed by most of the assisted living facilities and nursing homes in the United States is on the process of a written or formal permission to install monitoring cameras for their nursing suite or room. The process is usually filed as an application to the director of the assisted living facility. It is done by the client or the family and relatives of the client.

Neglected Elders

It is a standard in nursing institutions and assisted living facilities to establish a monitoring procedure for all their clients. However, the case counts regarding neglected elders, those falling, and those usually abused by caregivers increased significantly in 2017. 

Most families believe that the need for them to take matters in their own hands is urgent. They don’t want their older family members sheltered in assisted living to be abused or neglected anyhow.

Elderly Abuse

The fear of being abused is what pushed most clients and families to set up video cameras. This is also a common reason why these clients or their family appeal for the setup. However, not all assisted living clients are fond of having monitoring cameras around the facility. The idea of making it like a “Big Brother” model does not make others comfortable, more likely intrusive of their privacy and peace.


Also, the rise of expense on assisted living community management is another problem that could occur in the event of installing monitoring cameras. Having cameras around would mean constant surveillance. Unless the family or the client pledges additional payment for the services the community offers, it won’t likely support everything the client needs.

State Laws Concerning the Use of Surveillance and Monitoring Cameras in Illinois Nursing Homes

State laws have been circulating the US for quite some time now concerning the implementation of the round-the-clock surveillance and monitoring cameras for assisted living residents and staff. In 2016, Texas, Washington, Illinois, Oklahoma, and New Mexico have passed the law regarding camera monitoring for nursing facilities.

The provisions of these laws focus on the rights given to families or the clients themselves to install monitoring cameras in their own suites.

Lawmakers are continually debating the laws concerning the use of monitoring cameras for assisted living facilities. They are more concerned with how to maintain these cameras and how the facility could support more elderly rather than ensure all elderly clients get topnotch care.

Illinois’ Demand for Assisted Living Facilities

As of the moment, there are over 80,000 Illinois residents who are homed to nursing homes and assisted living communities scattered across the state. This is expected to rise in the next five to ten years, given those born under the Baby Boomers generation (those born after the two World Wars) are now on their senior stage.

The state government is confident that they can address this need by providing ample support to everyone. This includes both clients and assisted living communities, with healthcare services, medical assistance, and other requirements of older residents of the state. 

The federal government continues to provide the needed assistance to all states to give the dignity and affection the elders need before they pass on from this world to the next.

Impact on “Granny Cameras” to Assisted Living Facilities

It can’t be denied that many have seen the benefits of having these monitoring cameras for protection and other purposes intended. However, it is also advised to look at any adverse effects before looking at the prospect of installing monitoring devices. 

Most facilities in Illinois follow the standards in healthcare and assisted living for the elderly. Nursing homes are designed to provide all the needs of older relatives homed in their facilities.

Increased Use of Electricity

However, there are many effects on the administrative and client relations aspect of assisted living facilities and nursing homes when the installation of monitoring cameras is permitted. Most likely, there will be increased use of electricity, a need for higher bandwidth (where these cameras will be connected), and the need to put information plates regarding the installation. 

It is even more tedious for the facility when clients leave the facility and wish to bring along the monitoring cameras they have installed in their own rooms.


As much as these cameras utilize as a “defense mechanism” for the elderly with regards to possible abuse by caregivers, this would bring a more limited activity to their nurses and caregivers. Some of them would not dare to touch the elderly for fear that they may do something wrong with their service and get sued for abuse.

EMF Radiation

Also, concerning health concerns, the installation of monitoring cameras, especially internet protocol (IP) variants, raises the risk of EMF radiation. This could influence stress levels on the elderly.

It could add to all other electronic devices and appliances that generate these dangerous radiations and exposing the elderly to more health risks.


Allowing video cameras inside suites, rooms, and other areas in the assisted living facilities is a good move for protection from any untoward accidents, especially in cases of abuse. It is good that the state government had issued the law regarding the permission to install these monitoring devices. 

On a positive note, most of the assisted living communities in the state are looking towards the best interests of their clients. They work to provide them with the best services to meet their daily needs during their senior years.

Nonetheless, there is also a need to examine the other side of the debate that leads to the ratification of the Illinois state law. The permit to install these monitoring cameras changed a lot of processes with regards to standard operating procedures inside nursing facilities and assisted living communities. 

The procedures installed by the law and the management of assisted living facilities are also reviewed to bring a win-win situation for both parties. This involves management, utilities, and even the best interests of all clients catered inside these facilities. 

The desire to provide the best senior care is what the government continues to monitor in honor of everyone’s right to life, including medical care and dignified living standards.

Kris Peter

A positive individual enjoying the journey, and always searching for adventure. I created Sunlight Living to help my parents (and eventually myself) prepare for retirement. About Kris

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