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Social Media Abuse: A New Form of Nursing Home Abuse

August 27, 2021 | Personal Injury

Nursing home abuse should never occur. Unfortunately, there are times when nursing home residents suffer from various types of abuse in West Virginia, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. However, as technology becomes more and more integrated into the daily lives of every age group, a new type of elder abuse is developing in nursing homes and assisted living facilities and across the U.S. – social media nursing home abuse.

Social media nursing home abuse is a rising problem, and it can take many forms. This type of abuse commonly includes nursing home employees and caregivers taking humiliating or compromising pictures or videos of those under their care and sharing them through various social media platforms without consent. In these cases, the victims are unaware of the social media activity and are unable to defend themselves.

Understanding Social Media Abuse in Nursing Homes

In 2019, police in North Carolina uncovered an incredibly horrific case of nursing home abuse. Three staff members at a nursing home in NC videotaped a woman with dementia fighting another resident. In the video, one staff member can be heard saying, “Punch her in the face,” as a 73-year-old nursing home resident was attacking another 70-year-old resident. Both nursing home residents suffered from dementia.

Police described the incident as a nursing home Fight Club at the time. All three staff members were fired right after the incident took place and police filed charges.

We wish this were an isolated incident, but the rise of technology and the ease with which this technology can be used in any location has led to an increase in social media abuse in nursing homes. Aside from recording residents fighting, there are various other ways that social media abuse can occur inside nursing homes or assisted living facilities in West Virginia:

  • Nursing home staff members could take photographs or videos of nursing home residents in various states of undress or completely nude.
  • Nursing home staff members could take photographs or videos of themselves directly abusing nursing home residents.
  • Nursing home staff members could take videos of themselves taunting or humiliating the residence under their care.

The act of taking photographs or videos in these situations is abuse in and of itself. Further, sharing these photographs or videos spreads this abuse far and wide.

How to Fight Back Against Social Media Abuse in Nursing Homes

It can be very difficult to detect the signs of social media abuse in nursing homes unless the evidence is directly shown to the public. However, if you do discover evidence of social media abuse in a nursing home, you need to report it to law enforcement authorities as soon as possible. The police will take this matter very seriously and conduct an investigation into the incident.

If your loved one has been the victim of social media nursing home abuse, you need to contact a skilled nursing home attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer will conduct an independent investigation into the incident and help family members and the victim fight back against the nursing home. This will include holding the perpetrator of the abuse and the facility responsible accountable for what happened and recovering compensation on behalf of the victim.