ProPublica, an investigative journalism company based out of New York City, recently discovered a starling form of nursing home abuse that is becoming more common sharing dehumanizing videos and photos of residents on social media.
According to ProPublica’s research, an increasing number of nursing home employees are posting explicit and humiliating photos and videos of residents via social media.
Some of the residents are naked, or partially naked, in the images.
While actual physical and verbal abuse is captured in some of the pictures and videos, simply recording and uploading images of residents without their consent can also be deemed a form of abuse.
The Investigative Study And Results
During its investigation, ProPublica uncovered 35 examples of nursing home abuse that was posted to social media sites. The postings dated as far back as 2012.
Sixteen of the 35 instances were found on Snapchat, a popular picture and video posting site. Using Snapchat, workers can post videos or pictures that can only be seen for a few seconds before disappearing.
However, many of the pictures and videos can still be found on Snapchat’s server.
Any photo or video that showed a nursing home employee verbally or physically assaulting a resident may be presented as evidence for pursuing criminal charges against the employee(s) involved.
While most of the incidents did not lead to criminal charges, they could still be in violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a government mandated privacy law for patients.
Disturbing Examples Of Nursing Home Abuse On Social Media
Nursing home abuse is not a new phenomenon. Unfortunately, sexual, physical or emotional abuse of residents occurs every day in nursing facilities across the U.S.
With the proliferation of social media, such cases of abuse are available for the general public to see, like the examples below:
- A 97-year-old Illinois resident with dementia was videotaped being slapped in the face with a nylon strap by a worker. The worker laughed while the woman cried out for them to stop.
- A Washington resident had a video taken of her while she was using the bathroom, pants down and singing. The nursing assistant shared the video on Snapchat.
- An employee videotaped Ohio residents at a nursing facility as they lay in bed and were told to say they loved cocaine. A female resident was forced to wear a sign that said hoe and which made a reference to learning how to become a prostitute.
If you are concerned that your elderly loved one has been abused or has had nursing home pictures taken of them, contact the nursing home abuse lawyers at O’Connor, Acciani and Levy immediately.
Our injury attorneys care about the elderly citizens of our community and will fight hard to ensure they receive the justice they deserve.