A report co-published by ProPublica and The Washington Post reveals that nursing home employees are violating patients rights by posting embarrassing and inappropriate photos of residents on social media.
The investigation uncovered 35 occurrences since 2012 where photos or videos of nursing home and assisted living residents have been shared via social media. Sixteen cases involved the use of Snapchat, a social media application which makes images available for only a few seconds before they are erased.
The photos and videos depict nursing home residents in dehumanizing situations, sometimes partially or fully nude.
These incidents are thought to be largely underreported, as victims often have dementia and are unaware of what has happened.
The report noted that nursing homes rarely uncover questionable social media postings made by employees. Rather other employees or community members are typically the ones who report inappropriate photos to nursing homes or authorities.
Posting photos of a patient without the patients permission may be considered a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a federal law concerning patient privacy. While some cases have resulted in criminal charges being filed, most have not.
Digital Evidence of Abuse
Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is not new. However, today's use of social media by negligent nursing home employees is creating digital evidence of misconduct and illegal activity, assisting prosecutors and attorneys in building cases against them.
Nursing home residents deserve to be treated with respect, and to receive proper care. If you suspect a loved one has suffered from nursing home abuse, the West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer s at Gordon & Doner will fight to hold negligent caretakers accountable for their disgraceful behavior.