Nursing Home Abuse Caught on Social Media

General

Every nursing home resident deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. It’s shocking to think that nursing home staff would mentally abuse their patients by exposing them to public humiliation. Yet that is exactly what happened in at least several dozen incidents over the last few years where staff took pictures and videos of nursing home residents and posted them on social media sites, including Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook, without the residents’ permission.

Humiliating Scenarios Staged, Filmed, and Posted

In a few of the pictures and videos, the residents were partially or totally naked. In some cases, ProPublica reports, staff staged humiliating scenarios involving their patients and then filmed and posted them online. In one particularly horrific case, for example, a staff member slapped a resident in the face with a nylon strap. Other staff members laughed while the 97-year-old patient, who had dementia, cried out, “Don’t!”

In another staged video, staff coached residents to recite the words of a rap song about how they loved cocaine. Staff draped a banner saying “Got these hoes trained” across the chest of a resident who had been a church secretary for three decades. Inspectors talked to the woman’s son, who said his mother would have been “mortified” had she known about the video.

CMS Responds to Reports of Nursing Home Abuse

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) took action this year in response to media reports of these social media abuses. The CMS now requires that state survey teams review nursing homes to ensure they have written policies and procedures that prohibit staff from taking or distributing “humiliating and demeaning” photographs and videos online.

Nursing homes must also report any allegations of social media abuse and must investigate these allegations and take steps to make changes that will prevent further social media abuse.

Nursing Homes Required to Protect Patients from Abuse

Nursing homes are legally required to keep their patients free from physical and mental abuse. If you believe that a relative in a nursing home is being or has been abused, you can talk to a nursing home abuse lawyer to find out about your loved one’s legal rights and what steps you can take to help him or her. Please call Garcia & Artigliere toll-free at 1-800-281-8515 for a free, no-obligation consultation.