When you think about nursing home abuse, you probably think about physical, verbal, or emotional abuse. While these are common forms of nursing home abuse, they are not the only types of nursing home abuse. Patients at nursing homes can also suffer financial abuse and sexual abuse. Staff members, doctors, visitors, and even other patients can be guilty of abusing a patient.
Family members need to be aware of the warning signs of nursing home abuse and what to do if they suspect nursing home abuse. They must also be familiar with one of the newest forms of nursing home abuse — social media abuse.
What Is Social Media Abuse in Nursing Homes?
According to a story co-published by ProPublica and NPR, ProPublica identified 47 cases since 2012 in which “dehumanizing” photos or videos of residents of nursing homes and assisted care facilities were posted on various social media sites. Some of the videos and pictures posted to sites such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram included patients without clothing and patients covered in feces. In some cases, the posted material included patients who were deceased. The posts also contained images of abuse.
The elderly and incapacitated are often unable to prevent videos and pictures from being taken. Residents may not even be aware that they are being photographed or videotaped. Therefore, they are unable to tell family members about the abuse. Something must be done to protect residents from this type of abuse.
Plans to Crack Down on Social Media Abuse in Nursing Homes and Assisted Care Facilities
According to ProPublica, federal health regulators announced plans to crack down on this type of nursing home abuse after the series of reports were published by ProPublica. In a memo to state health departments, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services called for states to ensure that nursing homes have policies in place that prohibit staff members from taking demeaning photographs of their residents and to investigate complaints related to this type of abuse quickly.
Do You Suspect Social Media Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing homes have a duty to protect the privacy of their patients. Allowing staff members to take demeaning or embarrassing photographs or videos of residents is negligent. In order to protect your loved one, ask to see a copy of the policy that prohibits this type of behavior by staff members. Ask how the nursing home enforces this policy with its staff members.
If you suspect your loved one is being abused in this manner, take immediate action. Report the abuse to the nursing home and state officials. Because a nursing home can cover up incidents of abuse to protect its best interest and state investigations can move slowly, you should also contact a Louisville nursing home attorney to discuss your claim. An attorney will advise you of the steps you need to take to protect your loved one and to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.
Call Our Office Today for A Free Consultation
Contact the Shelton Law Group by calling 1-888-761-7204 or by using our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with a Louisville nursing home abuse attorney. Our attorneys understand the fear, frustration, and urgency that families feel when they suspect nursing home abuse. We are here to help you and your loved one as you seek justice from those who have committed unthinkable acts of abuse.