In the last few years, a new medium has allowed abusive nursing home employees to exploit the patients in their care. Snapchat and other social media services are being used to post dehumanizing photos and videos of nursing home residents.
At least 35 cases have been identified since 2012, and the number may be grossly under-representative of the actual cases of this kind of abuse since many of the posters use Snapchat, a service that only displays photos for a few seconds before deleting them and leaving no lasting record.
Many of the photos and videos present the elderly naked or nearly naked and often show them being struck by staffers or being coerced into humiliating actions.
The silver lining in these cases is that the perpetrators of the abuse are in a way self-reporting their own actions over social media. Several have been prosecuted for abuse that may have otherwise gone unnoticed or unreported. However, the humiliation suffered at the hands of their caregivers has traumatic lasting effects for both the victims and their families.
In response to recent media reports that highlighted this abuse, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is beginning to take action. In a recent memorandum to the State Survey Agency Directors, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services warned that survey teams will be requesting and reviewing facilities’ policies regarding the prohibition of staff taking, keeping, and distributing photos or videos that demean or humiliate nursing home residents.
It’s only the first step in preventing such egregious abuse of nursing home patients and is little consolation to the victims and their families who have already suffered the indignities of this new form of nursing home abuse.
If you feel that your loved in a nursing home has had their rights violated or has been abused, please call our office today for a free consultation of their case.