Surveillance cameras have been installed in patient rooms at a Vista health care facility -- a decision that some say is an invasion of privacy.
» Sign Up For Breaking News Alerts» Like Us On Facebook» Follow Us On Twitter
On the outside, Vista Gardens, a facility for Alzheimer's disease and dementia patients, has the look of a resort, with a sports bar, spa and putting green.
However, the facility recently installed $200,000 worth of surveillance cameras in patient rooms as a way to protect those specifically suffering from memory loss.
"We're really protecting those who can't report for themselves and need monitoring or safety measures," said Dr. Jacqueline Dupont of Vista Gardens.
Dupont operates a facility in Orange County that uses approved surveillance cameras.
For now, the cameras are not in operation, but it's something Don Crowell hopes will soon change at his family's owned-and-operated facility.
"Two different things can happen," said Crowell. "Somebody has been abused or somebody may think they've been abused and they haven't. So it protects both the caregivers and the resident."
"I think if they're used like they are designed to be used, it's actually a great idea," said Diane Darby Beach of the Alzheimer's Association, San Diego/Imperial County Chapter.
Darby Beach added that one in eight San Diegans 65 years of age and older have the disease. Almost 50 percent of people 85 years of age and older will develop it. Darby Beach believes the cameras were designed to help, not to hinder.
"It's designed to be used as a look back. They would film but not be monitoring 24/7, but then if there was an event, they'd have data to go back to," said Darby Beach.
By law, video cameras -- such as those in the hallways -- are allowed to be used to watch residents in common areas. When it comes to the bedrooms, where the cameras are in place, the State Department of Social Services told 10News they cannot be turned on.
The State Department told 10News the challenge is finding an appropriate balance between health and safety, and the client's right to privacy.
"Video surveillance equipment is an emerging technology and we're expecting to have a decision regarding its use in private living areas of licensed community care facilities within the next few months," said Michael Weston, spokesman for the California Department of Social Services.
For now, the cameras sit unused until the state says otherwise.
Copyright Do you have more information about this story? Click here to contact usCopyright 2012 by 10News.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.