Virginia Department of Health
Office of Licensure and Certification
August 1, 2004
Electronic Monitoring of Resident’s Rooms1
A resident has the right to live in a safe and secure environment and to personal privacy.
Family members, seeking to monitor the quality of care of their loved ones, are continuing to
express interest in placing video cameras or other means of electronic surveillance in the rooms
of nursing home residents. Advocacy groups have joined in this effort to propose federal laws
that would explicitly permit a nursing facility resident and/or family member to install electronic
monitoring equipment with a facility’s knowledge. Currently, two states have laws addressing
electronic monitoring, while eleven states, including Virginia, have considered legislation.
State and federal long-term care regulations do not prohibit the placing of electronic monitoring
equipment in resident rooms for the purposes of monitoring at-risk residents. However, Virginia
law (§18.2- 386.1 of the Code of Virginia) prohibits the filming, videotaping or photographing of
non-consenting persons if: “(i) that person is totally nude, clad in undergarments, or in a state of
undress so as to expose the genitals, pubic area, buttocks or female breast in a restroom, dressing
room, locker room, hotel room, motel room, tanning bed, tanning booth or other location and (ii)
the circumstances are otherwise such that the person being videotaped, photographed or filmed
would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.” Facilities cannot use cameras in violation of
the law based solely on a family member’s request or approval.
Therefore, facilities must have procedures in place to obtain the resident’s documented consent
prior to installing any monitoring equipment, including the consent of any resident sharing a