In the last year alone, there have been at least 18 incidents where nursing home employees have posted lewd and unauthorized photos and videos of vulnerable elderly residents on social media platforms. An investigation by ProPublica, which found 18 new cases, brings the total number of such incidents to 65 since 2012. A majority of these incidents involve Snapchat, a social media service where photos appear for a few seconds and then disappear without a lasting record. These lewd images of residents, often individuals who can’t speak or even stand up for themselves, have also been posted on Instagram and Facebook. ProPublica reports that while this problem is not new, the pace of the reported incidents has picked up. If you or someone you love has fallen victim to this most embarrassing invasion of privacy, do not hesitate to contact a Rhode Island nursing home abuse lawyer who can help you understand your legal rights.
What Did These Employees Post Exactly?
A number of these incident reports are truly stomach-churning. In one case, a medical assistant at a Florida nursing home secretly recorded two residents engaging in sexual intercourse and posted it on Snapchat. In Wisconsin, a nursing assistant took a photo of a resident’s inner thighs and genitals as the resident was in the bathroom and shared it on Snapchat with a former employee. Additionally, there have been other cases across the country where nude or semi-nude photos of residents have been posted on Snapchat. In some of these videos, nursing home employees can be heard laughing or mocking the elderly person in the background. Nursing home residents should be able to completely trust those tasked with their care. It is unfortunate to see that some people find it amusing or entertaining to take advantage of an elderly person who is left vulnerable due to their old age or medical conditions.
What Is Being Done About This Problem?
Regulatory authorities have stepped in and attempted to crack down on this unacceptable behavior. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees nursing homes, told state health departments last summer that they should begin checking to ensure that all nursing homes have policies prohibiting staff from taking demeaning photographs of residents. The agency also urged states to promptly investigate these complaints and report offending workers to licensing agencies so the necessary disciplinary actions can be taken.
Signs of Emotional Abuse
Such incidents are evidence of the type of emotional abuse that takes place in nursing homes. If you have someone close to you living in a nursing home or an assisted living facility, it is important that you watch for signs of nursing home emotional abuse. Here are a few red flags and symptoms that could point to emotional abuse:
- Withdrawal from hobbies or social activities they used to previously enjoy.
- A sudden change in personality or behavior, which may include uncharacteristic anger, fear or sadness.
- Low self-esteem
- Suicidal thoughts or depression.
- Changes in eating or sleeping patterns.
- Significant weight loss or weight gain.
- Behavior such as rocking back and forth, pulling one’s hair or grinding teeth.
Contact d’Oliveira & Associates Today!
If your loved one is being emotionally, physically or otherwise abused in a nursing home, it is important that you obtain more information regarding your legal rights. The experienced Rhode Island nursing home lawyers with whom we work can file a lawsuit on your behalf and help you hold the at-fault facility and its employees accountable. Nobody should have to suffer that kind of harassment and embarrassment, especially an elderly person. Fill out a contact form online or call us at 1-800-992-6878 for a free, comprehensive and confidential case consultation.