August 23, 2013

Use of Cameras in Group Homes

After seeing stories about families across the nation who have wanted to have hidden cameras or any camera in group homes but were denied I wanted to find out exactly what the regulations were in Pennsylvania so I sent a request to DPW and below is the answer.  I am pleased to have the information wanted to share it with families so they too, would know what their rights are.

****************

For personal care homes, we have a helpful regulatory interpretation document on our web site here: http://www.dpw.state.pa.us/ucmprd/groups/webcontent/documents/report/p_013038.pdf which may answer some of your questions about personal care home regulations.

Specifically, for audio and/or video monitoring, we provide the following regulatory interpretation information to providers:

Audio and Video Monitoring:  

  • Audio monitoring in any location on the grounds of the home is prohibited.
  • Video monitoring and recording of the home’s exterior is permitted.
  • Video monitoring of the home’s interior common areas is permitted.
  • Video recording is permitted in interior areas completely inaccessible to residents, such as medication and supply storage areas.
  • Video recording of the home’s entrances and exits and the interior corridors leading to entrances and exits is permitted, provided that:
  • Residents are informed at admission that these areas are subject to video recording
  • Signs indicating that images are being recorded are posted in the areas that are being recorded.
  • All other recording of interior areas by the home is a violation of resident privacy and therefore prohibited.
  • Staff may not photograph or video record residents with private cell phones or other electronic devices.
  • Residents may video record in their private rooms or with the written permission of all roommates in shared rooms. Residents may install “hidden cameras” in private rooms without the home’s knowledge.

I hope that the information above is helpful. If you should have any further questions about any licensed human service settings such as: Adult Training Facilities, Vocational Facilities, Personal Care Homes, Assisted Living Residences, Child Residential and Day Treatment Facilities, Community Residential Rehabilitation Services for the Mentally Ill, Long-Term Structured Residences, Community Homes for Individuals with Mental Retardation, and Family Living Homes please feel free to contact me – I am happy to help with any information that you need.