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Nursing Home Abuse Moves Online

Updated December 29, 2018 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

Nursing 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 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 elderly residents 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. In 2012, a survey of boards of nursing found that two-thirds of boards had received complaints about nurses inappropriately using social media.

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 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.

Contact a Nursing Home and Elder Abuse Attorney Today

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

If your elderly loved one has been abused at their care facility, contact the Indianapolis Nursing Home and Elder Abuse Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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