ProPublica has unearthed a horrifying trend. Based on their research, nursing home workers across the country are posting embarrassing and dehumanizing photos of elderly residents on social media networks such as Snapchat.
ProPublica has located at least 16 cases involving photos on Snapchat that violate these vulnerable people’s privacy and dignity.
Since 2012, ProPublica has identified 35 instances in which nursing home employees have secretly shared photos or videos of residents some of whom were partially or completely naked, out of which at least 16 involved
Snapchat, a social media service where photos appear and then disappear with no lasting record.
Some of these instances have led to criminal charges such as the one filed earlier this month in San Diego against a nursing assistant.
A Disturbing Trend
These incidents show an emerging threat that social media poses to patient privacy. At the same time, we are also witnessing the powerful potential of social media to capture these horrible transgressions that previously might have gone undetected. Nursing home abuse is nothing new. Workers in nursing homes across the county have been accused of neglecting residents, sedating them with antipsychotics and even abusing them physically, emotionally and sexually.
The instances recorded are deeply disturbing. One Snapchat video shows a resident sitting on a bedside portable toilet with her pants below her knees while the employees laughed at her.
In an Illinois nursing home employees laughed as they slapped the face of a 97-year-old female dementia patient with a nylon strap as she cried out: “Don’t!” In Ohio, a nursing assistant recorded a video of residents lying in bed as they were coached to say: “I’m in love with the coco.” Coco is slang for cocaine in gangster rap lingo. An employee in that Snapchat video held up a banner saying she “trained these hoes.”
Reporting These Incidents
These incidents and reports of abuse in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are sickening. As California nursing home lawyers who represent victims of nursing home abuse and neglect, we are absolutely horrified by this report. The details of this report show that nursing home residents are not only being severely abused by employees, but that the abuse is being paraded for millions to see on social media.
It’s hard to believe that people with absolutely no empathy and humanity would even get hired to work in these facilities that house the most frail and vulnerable sections of our society. This is truly heartbreaking! We are determined to hold facilities that allow this type of behavior accountable.
If you suspect that your loved one has been abused in a nursing home or assisted living facility, please contact us to obtain more information about protecting your loved one’s legal rights.