Over the last few years, a new medium has allowed more and more people to witness abusive nursing home employees who exploit the patients in their care. Snapchat and other social media outlets are being used to post dehumanizing photos and videos of nursing home tenants.
There have been at least 45 cases reported since 2012, and that number is sadly discounted of the actual cases of this kind of abuse, since many social media posters use Snapchat, a platform that only shows photos or videos for a few seconds before erasing them, leaving no lasting proof.
The photos and videos display the elderly naked or nearly naked, and often show them being taunted by staffers or being bullied into humiliating actions.
The bright outlook in these cases is that the culprits of the abuse are, in a way, self-reporting their own actions via social media. Many have been charged with abuse that may have otherwise gone unnoticed or unreported. However, the humiliation suffered at the hands of their caregivers has traumatic lasting effects for both the victims and their families.
In response to all the media reports that are drawing attention to this abuse, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are starting to take action.
In a recent announcement to the State Survey Agency Directors, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services warned that survey teams will be reviewing facilities’ policies regarding the ban of staff taking, keeping, and sharing photos or videos that degrade or embarrass nursing home residents.
It’s only the first step in preventing such heinous abuse of nursing home patients. But it is little relief to the victims and their families who have already suffered the humiliations of this new type of nursing home abuse.