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Nursing Home Abuse Moves Online

October 18, 2016 Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse victim in wheelchairNursing home abuse comes in many forms. It isn’t restricted to physical violence and can include numerous varieties of psychological and emotional abuse. Abuse takes advantage of a person to their detriment, such as the financial abuse.

Social media is now being used to abuse nursing home residents. Nursing home staff are increasingly doing things online that are degrading, such as taking photos of them in distress or undressed and then posting them online.

Dehumanizing, Humiliating, and All-Too Common

A report last year identified thirty-five instances in which a nursing home worker posted a photo or video of a resident partially or completely naked online. Thousands of other incidents are believed to go unreported each year. The perpetrators don’t seem to understand that what they’re doing is very wrong. They’re often too caught up in the “pics or it didn’t happen” mentality of social media.

In Indiana, a nursing assistant pleaded guilty to a minor charge and served three days in jail for circulating a photo of a partially undressed resident.

Not Just Bad Behavior, Also Illegal

Taking and posting these images is wrong. In many states, this is an illegal act, especially if the senior is photographed while naked. Even when a state law doesn’t explicitly make these actions a crime, federal laws might come into play. Posting photos of a senior might violate HIPAA. In 2012, a survey of boards of nursing found that two-thirds of boards had received complaints about nurses inappropriately using social media.

In the past, justice has unfortunately not been pursued often enough in these cases, and penalties are often light. Offenders frequently get off with a misdemeanor, relatively small fines, or a temporary license suspension.

Indiana Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

When elder abuse happens, victims need to be protected. The perpetrators need to be held to account.

At Wilson Kehoe Winingham, we make it our business to help those who can’t help themselves. If you or a family member has suffered from nursing home abuse or another adult abuse condition, give us a call to learn how we can help. We offer a free consultation to all clients to discuss the specifics of their case. Contact us online or call us today at 317-920-6400 to schedule your appointment.

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