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The memory care unit where my mother lives isn't allowing the Amazon Echo Show. My mother doesn't pick up the phone anymore. In short, she can't remember anything and sometimes how things work, like a telephone, but she is very sociable and sometimes lonely. The Amazon echo show has a feature that allows me to drop in on her and just show up on her dresser! She really took to it right away and liked it a lot, but the facility said it was against their rules and took it out of the room. I said I would sign a waiver, but it's not looking good so far. I would never put anyone in a facility that does not allow this type of device to communicate with a relative.

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I'm glad they were willing to keep working with you and found a solution, isn't it supposed to be a sign of a good compromise when nobody gets exactly what they want and everyone is a little bit unhappy? 😉
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Just thought I'd check in here. After a couple of months and a few heart-felt emails, they came up with a solution. They made it part of the formal level of care and it will be turned on at 7PM and off at 9PM, my choice of times. I made it even easier for them and connected it to a timer, so really they don't have anything to do. I'm perfectly happy with that solution and it seems to fit within their policy.

These are built in to TVs now, so eventually they will have to face this situation and I think they will have to allow it or risk losing customers.
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I remember when my boss had placed cameras around his home to watch his wife, who had Alzheimer's. Of course nothing wrong with watching his wife, but the caregiver was also being viewed.

The caregiver knew about the cameras which were placed AFTER she was hired a year or so prior. She thought she could deal with the cameras but it made her too nervous. Don't blame her, I surely wouldn't want to work in an office where I am being filmed.

The caregiver gave her 30 day notice. It became a nightmare trying to find a new caregiver, not because of the camera, but because my boss' wife wouldn't accept any of them. She wanted the prior caregiver back. Boss said he would remove the cameras, but the trust was lost, and the caregiver said no. She found other clients.
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NomadSE, I read that tragic story and saw the video. That's a pretty good case for why we should be able to see what's going on with our relatives in a situation like that. I bet that guy would be alive if they knew they were being recorded.

The standard should be that they want you to watch what's going on so that you can see what excellent care they give!
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There was something in the news recently about a nursing home being sued by a family in the death of their LO because of a surveillance camera video which showed the LO crying out for help and no one coming for over 15 minutes and doing nothing but turning the call light out and adjusting the O2 line. Then a long time later the DON comes in and they are just laughing because the O2 bag isn't working right and she does a few half-hearted compressions. It was pretty shocking. And I'll bet this place has heard about it.
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I got an echo for my dad, private room during rehab, and had to get a internet booster to make it work in the remote part of the nursing home where he was. Well, I put it there, and the staff could not seem to NOT mess with it. Pull it out, look at both devices, I was losing my mind. In this case, it wasn't apparently because of some policy, it's that they just couldn't seem to keep their hands off it. I gave up and just put a small transistor radio in his room. So frustrating.
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I agree with you GardenArtist regarding all of the hacking. It's awful and most everything that is most important and that we may have thought was guarded very well turns out to not be safe!

That said, it is my connection, and does not belong to the "home". It's a private room and I agree to not hold them liable for anything related to it.

Personally, I think that they should be held to the same standard that many businesses are held to, and that is that we are all being recorded, police being a good example.

I'm sure that the idea of piping natural gas into homes, wiring homes with outlets of 110V with 20A of current were thought to be crazy. Sure, there are problems, but in general we all appreciate the lights, heat and cooking capabilities that this type of power gives us all and is considered a standard in the developed world. Few advancements come without any cost.

I like your suggestion and I think I will pull out the original agreement and see exactly what it says! The longer this "blackout" goes on, the stronger that I feel about it.
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Some very good points have been made about Internet security. Over the years, the Pentagon, Los Alamos, and other high profile departments have been hacked. Chase Bank was hacked. One of the Chase bankers told me the hackers reached the 6th or 7th level of security; I don't recall for sure which level. But the hackers did not get account numbers. It's also my understanding that Chase spends millions of dollars on cybersecurity.

How many nursing homes have the funds to provide such a high level of security, or to handle a data breach, or to hire top notch security officials?

I've read that medical information has become a hacker's delight because the information can be leveraged in ways different from financial information.

SouthHaven, we can each play our part to protect private information, but WE are not the ones in control of it all the time. Business, banks, forums, doctors, hospitals, catalogue companies, retailers - any can have personal information. And as we've seen with Equifax, data collection of some of the most personal information isn't even safe with a company that specializes in information gathering.

And how many people post to the so-called "Cloud?" That's been hacked as well.

I'm not challenging your right to establish a good communication method with your mother, but if the nursing home files were hacked, through a data breach from Echo or Alexa, would you want to be blamed for using the devices?

"Putting it to sleep" doesn't stop hackers. Sometime ago, vulnerable ports used have a lot to do with breaches but hackers continue to grow more sophisticated, and use whatever means they can to infiltrate.

I'm still wondering what the admission papers established in terms of using such devices.
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Just to be clear,
- no roommates
- private apartment, private internet connection (I pay for it)
- nobody has access to it except Mom
- it was working great and nobody complained (treating it as a single use device)
- the echo-show can be put to sleep with the touch of a button, plus I have special access that allows me to do everything from my home and I put it to sleep whenever I'm not using it
- in terms of hacking, it's true that everything can be hacked, telephones, smart-phones, laptops, bank accounts, everything, but we all just have to do our best and try to stay as safe as possible - we could stay at home for fear of crossing the street, but then there are earthquakes, floods, etc.

btw, the great thing about this is that my Mom doesn't have to do anything! I was calling her while she was in bed. She didn't even have to move her head! She could just se and hear me and vice-versa, so no need for her to do or understand anything about it.
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Clever idea, couple of things to consider :
1. If mom has a roommate it definitely is an invasion of privacy. This may be a non-starter.
2. Do they have the bandwidth and signal strength in her room to support your and other's devices?
3. These devices can be used to shop, play music, etc. and may easily have range beyond her room.
How does this get controlled - so mom (or other patients) do not decide to jam some Tony Bennett when people are trying to sleep?
Will you accept responsibility for unauthorized purchases, or would you hold the facility responsible?
4. What happens if mom eventually starts getting more confused by it? What if she wants to talk to you and you are not there - will this be more emotionally upsetting?
5. What about HIPPA? Maybe you can sign a waiver for your mom, but what about another patient it can pick up, or nurse discussions of other patients?

They would be foolish to allow this without a policy in place. A well thought out policy should look for the benefits and address the possible problems as well. Frankly, this could be an "added" service or differentiator for the facility, they should seriously consider your request.
If I really wanted it, I would try to sell them on the concept as a business case and offer to be the first test case.
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The trouble with any internet connected communication is that it can be hacked, and virtually all organisations are vulnerable, and they are held responsible for any resulting breaches in privacy, and they are all understandably freaked out about it.

I'd be impressed if the facility had yet got round to devising a formal policy on these devices. But you're still entitled to ask them to give their reasons for depriving your mother of a means of communication that you have approved.

You could end up being an interesting test case - I will watch this space! Good luck with it, and a big shout-out to your mother for being such a clever techie lady :)
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So this is a two way thing video? She sees you and you see her? I don't think the Hippa rules apply to this situation. Once in a facility it becomes the persons home. The facility probably can't put equipment in Moms room but I see no problem with family doing it ecpecially since Mom likes it. They r afraid that you will "pop" in and see something they don't want u to see. I would fight it.
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I agree with Pam and Stacey. There's been a literal explosion of privacy violations by people videoing events, their neighbors, police, and more, and some people (including me) find this to be an invasion of privacy as well as unauthorized surveillance. And that includes drones, which can be very, very offensive and intrusive.

There's another issue beyond surveillance and it is invasion of privacy. "Just showing" up could result in some compromising situations for your mother, such as if she's getting dressed, or in a state of undress. While she's your mother, it still might make her feel uncomfortable.

And I imagine the staff wouldn't appreciate the intrusion either.


SouthHaven, have you read the Admission Agreement? I'm guessing the issue of surveillance or some form of it is included in the restrictions.

If there is such a provision, and you signed the Agreement, the facility could easily argue that you "knew or should have known" (standard legal language) that these types of devices are prohibited.
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Thank you for the responses. I appreciate it.

I don't see theft or breakage as being an issue. I'm certainly not concerned about either in this close-in situation on a memory unit and the unit itself is very robust.

I didn't see the rules, but I don't doubt that they exist. The reason that they gave was that it might be a HIPAA violation. I assured them that I would sign a statement approving this, since I have legal authority over my mother.

I have not actually heard a decision yet, but I'm guessing this type of situation is going to get a lot bigger and that it won't go away. Personally, I have no use for devices like this except in this situation. I liken it to police wearing body cameras. I can imagine that if I were a cop, I would not want to wear them, but I understand why they are becoming ubiquitous. Cameras are literally everywhere now, especially if you consider smart phone proliferation.

I wonder if telephones were considered as a type of privacy invasion when they started to become popular. I bet there were a lot of people who probably said no-way initially...
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I'm thinking that Pamstegma is correct, and unless there is a way to show the administration that this would not be an invasion of privacy, or a way in which someone could or would use this in some sort of nefarious way, I'd doubt that they will accept such a device. It all goes back to privacy laws, especially in a health care environment, but I do see how it could be useful, sad really.
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Both Echo and Alexa are listening all the time and this is a form of audio surveillance. Read the rules for the facility regarding surveillance. If you can "pop in" any time, you may also be picking up video surveillance, which is invasion of privacy in the eyes of CMS.
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Yeah, I'd want to know what their reasoning is. Do the feel you are using it to "spy" on the staff? Do they worry about it being lost or damaged? I imagine most of it is that they aren't up on technology and don't understand exactly what it does or how helpful it is for your mother. You may need to educated them or recruit others to put outside pressure on them so they understand it is a device that allows someone to overcome a disability, just like a hearing aid or a fancy wheelchair are.
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You should have a copy of the rules. What is the reason. Are they afraid housekeeping will damage it?
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