Personal Injury & Nursing Home Abuse
Pittsburgh and Western PA

Researcher Sheds Light on 'Cruel' Social Media Posts Targeting Nursing Home Residents

Wrinkled hands of elderly person on the wheels of a wheelchair.

Nursing home neglect and abuse can take many different forms, from physical abuse by nursing home staff members to failing to provide care to nursing home residents. In recent years, another type of nursing home abuse has become increasingly common – nursing home staff members sharing cruel social media posts about elderly residents.

"They (social media posts) range in severity from sharing personal information on social media without the residents' consent to 'demeaning' and 'dehumanizing' behavior caught on video and posted online to social media platforms, such as TikTok and Snapchat," according to Connecticut Insider.

Cruel social media posts about nursing home residents are increasingly common

Several studies have been done in recent years about the rise in the number of cruel and inappropriate social media posts about nursing home residents. In fact, since 2012, there have been at least 65 incidents investigated by authorities involving cruel or offensive social media posts about residents of nursing homes, according to an investigation by ProPublica News.

According to ProPublica, many incidents resulted in criminal charges against nursing home staff members. In other cases, the inappropriate social media posts resulted in a formal investigation conducted by the appropriate local, state, or federal agency.

What is an inappropriate social media post about nursing home residents?

Examples of inappropriate social media posts about nursing home residents can cover a wide range. Some of the incidents highlighted by ProPublica that resulted in an investigation by authorities or resulted in criminal charges being filed include:

  • Photos of naked nursing home residents were posted on social media, which resulted in criminal charges being filed in several cases and nursing home staff members being fired in some cases.
  • Nursing home residents were yelled at and threatened with violence, which resulted in a criminal investigation in one case.
  • Sharing photos on social media of nursing home residents going to the bathroom resulted in criminal investigations in several cases.
  • Posting photos of nursing home residents with Alzheimer's disease without their permission or the permission of family members violates nursing home residents' privacy rights.

What are nursing homes doing in response to inappropriate social media posts?

Many nursing homes have taken an active role in putting a stop to cruel and inappropriate social media posts about nursing home residents. Such steps include:

  • Educating nursing home staff members about the harm caused by these types of social media posts.
  • Ensuring nursing home staff members fully understand the privacy rights of residents.
  • Immediately investigate incidents and take disciplinary action right away.

What legal options do families have?

If you believe your loved one is the victim of an inappropriate social media post created by a nursing home staff member, you often have several legal options available to you. Such options often include:

  • Contact the police immediately and tell them you believe a crime has been committed.
  • File a complaint with the nursing home, often in writing, so you have a formal record of your complaint.
  • Notify the state agency that investigates nursing home abuse and neglect claims. In Pennsylvania, nursing home abuse and neglect complaints and allegations are often investigated by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Division of Nursing Care Facilities.
  • Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer right away.

How can a nursing home abuse attorney help?

Even if local police or state investigators are already investigating your nursing home abuse complaint, it's important that you have an attorney on your side who thoroughly understands how the legal system works when it comes to complex nursing home negligence cases.

In particular, it's important to understand the scope of these investigations by police or state officials in Pennsylvania. Typically, their investigation only focuses on whether someone's rights were violated. An independent nursing home abuse lawyer can do the same, as well as make sure your family is financially compensated for any losses you may have incurred as a result of your loved one's incident.

Our dedicated legal team at Hal Waldman & Associates in Pittsburgh thoroughly understands how the legal system works in Pennsylvania when it comes to nursing home abuse and neglect cases. Contact us and schedule a free consultation to see how we can help you. There is no obligation, just honest answers about your potential legal options. Don't wait—contact us today.

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