Illini Restorative Care, a senior living facility owned by Genesis Health in Silvis, Illinois (the quad cities), was fined $250,000 in September when a CNA reported that a colleague posted a topless picture of a male resident on social media. The female CNA told investigators from the Illinois Department of Public Health that she was on a social media site on her cell phone and put it in her pocket when the resident needed her attention. She says she unknowingly took the photo and posted it to her social media account. Genesis reported that it fired the CNA for violating their cell phone policy, which forbids employees from carrying their cell phones into resident’s rooms, and that they were the ones to report the violation to IDPH.
Not an Isolated Incident
In 2015, ProPublica published a report on the number of known instances of employees posting resident photos on social media. At that time, there were 47 known incidents between 2012-2015. As of June 2017, the number of reported cases had increased to 65. One of the violations detailed by ProPublica happened at Rosewood Care Center in St. Charles, IL. In that case, an employee posted a video of a co-worker slapping a 97 year old resident in the face while the resident cried for them to stop. Rosewood reported that the two employees were fired. The other reports came from all over the country, with another incident occurring in Peoria, and several in Wisconsin.
While there is no federal law prohibiting cell phone use by nursing home employees while on duty, many nursing homes have established their own rules about how their staff may use them. In 2016, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) asked state health departments to ensure all of their nursing homes had some sort of policy in place regarding their use, while also asking that they investigate all complaints and report violations to all necessary state officials. One of the most common issues with investigating complaints such as these is the frequent use of Snapchat. Snapchat’s platform only allows a post to be viewed for a short period of time before it disappears, making it an ideal forum for sharing inappropriate photos and videos.
Until defined preventative and punitive measures are in place to deter nursing home employees from posting videos that degrade, humiliate, and rob residents of their right to dignity and privacy, the number of cases will continue to escalate.
If someone you love has been the victim of unwanted photos circulated on social media, contact the nursing home abuse attorneys of Chicago-based Levin and Perconti. For nearly 3 decades, our lawyers have been fighting against those who take away the dignity and respect our most vulnerable citizens deserve. Consultations are always free and confidential. Please contact us to find out how we can help you.
See Related Posts: