Abuse of Nursing Home Patients on Social Media
Federal officials are getting ready to crack down on nursing home abuse of residents that seems to be happening on social media. According to a KGTV news report, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which oversees nursing homes, has sent a memo out to state health departments across the country outlining plans for how to deal with the abuse of patients on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
It also talks at length about the responsibilities of the facilities and states when it comes to protecting nursing home residents. The agency has said all nursing homes should begin checking to make sure that they have policies in place that ban staff members from taking humiliating photos of residents and posting them online.
Past Social Media Abuse
Last year, a nursing home worker in Vista, California, was accused of posting a picture of a partially nude 90-year-old woman on Snapchat. This case was just one of many across the nation involving the abuse of nursing home patients on social media. In the Vista case, the nursing home employee, LaToya Walker, was charged with misdemeanor counts of elderly abuse and invasion of privacy.
A Snapchat video she posted allegedly showed two female employees laughing at the elderly resident with dementia before they gave her a shower. A whistleblower provided those images before they disappeared from Snapchat. The two employees were fired and investigation is ongoing.
Responsibility of Nursing Homes
Subjecting elderly, vulnerable nursing home residents to this type of public humiliation is absolutely unacceptable. Nursing homes have a responsibility to ensure that their nursing home residents are safe not only from outside elements, but also under the care of staff members. It is the responsibility of the nursing home to hire staff members after thorough background checks. Nursing home employees should be properly trained and supervised to prevent these types of incidents from occurring. Any report of abuse or neglect should be promptly and thoroughly investigated.
If you suspect that your loved one is being neglected or abused in a nursing home, it is important that you take the necessary steps to protect them. If you suspect a criminal act, report the incident to law enforcement immediately. If you believe that your loved one is being physically or emotionally abused by staff members or is being neglected, report to nursing home administrators right away. Contact an experienced California nursing home abuse lawyer who will stay abreast of the investigation and ensure that the wrongdoers are held accountable.