In recent months, a disturbing trend has been occurring throughout the United States. Nursing home staff members have been taking pictures and/or videos of residents who are under their care. These photos and videos, unfortunately, sometimes appeared to show seniors being abused or neglected. Many of the videos also showed the nursing home resident in a compromised or embarrassing position. All of this is generally done without the senior’s permission and the pictures and videos posted on the Internet are usually without the consent of those who are being recorded or photographed.
If nursing home residents are harmed by any type of abusive behavior, the victims or their families are encouraged to contact Steve Caya, a Janesville injury lawyer, for help. There are legal options for taking action against nursing home abuse or neglect. Lawmakers are also trying to crack down on the abuse videos that are being posted to social media sites with increasing frequency.
SENATORS URGE CRACKDOWN ON PERPETRATORS OF ELDER ABUSE
ProPublica reported on the efforts by lawmakers to try to hold nursing home staff members accountable for harming vulnerable residents of nursing homes. These efforts are being made because the serious problems of elder abuse and mistreatment are coming to the forefront more in the digital age, when so much information is shared online.
Since 2012, there have been at least three dozen situations where nursing home or assisted living staff members were caught secretly sharing pictures or videos. The videos featured residents of the nursing care facilities, many of whom were naked or who were only partially dressed.
SnapChat, in particular, was a prime place for the posting of these videos. There were at least 16 cases in which videos were placed on SnapChat. Because the photos appear only briefly on SnapChat before disappearing with no trace, identifying and proving wrongdoing can sometimes be more challenging than if other social media platforms are used.
The videos are disturbing to the public and lawmakers are taking notice. The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide information on how aggressive the DOJ is when it comes to pursuing perpetrators of elder abuse.
In particular, the Judiciary Committee is concerned about whether the DOJ is doing enough to stop staff members from sharing pictures and videos that are embarrassing or which depict abuse. The Committee Chair stated: “As technology and social media expand, we owe it to our nation’s elderly population to ensure quality nursing home care, which debasement of patients does not fulfill.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman was the third senator to call for action after reports from ProPublica about nursing home staff posting resident pictures and videos on social media. Senator Tom Carper also asked federal privacy regulators if they could stop the behavior.
Nursing home abuse should never occur, but it is especially egregious when the abusive behavior is posted online. Victims who are harmed by nursing home staff should make certain to consult with a skilled injury attorney in Janesville like Steve Caya, especially when there is clear evidence of abuse. Victims and their families should be compensated for losses and damages that occur due to the actions of nursing home staff.