Maryland nursing home residents have the right to live in a safe environment, free from mistreatment. Abuse against residents can take many forms, including physical abuse, financial exploitation, sexual abuse, neglect, and psychological abuse. A nursing home is responsible for keeping its residents safe and free from abuse. Under federal regulations, a nursing home is required to have policies and procedures in place to prohibit abuse, neglect, and exploitation, to investigate and report all allegations of abuse, and to protect residents from mistreatment.
Different types of claims can be filed against nursing homes that fail to keep residents safe or when employees are responsible for abuse. For example, a nursing home may be liable in negligence and medical malpractice claims, as well as claims involving intentional abuse. In addition to being responsible for its staff members’ actions, a nursing home may also be responsible for failing to have adequate policies in place to prevent abuse and to report allegations of abuse.
Social Media Abuse Becoming More Common in Nursing Homes
According to one news source, a new form of abuse is become increasingly common across nursing homes. What is being called “social media abuse” involves staff members taking inappropriate videos or photos of patients in their care and posting them on social media. One news outlet that has been tracking incidents of social media abuse in recent years has documented 65 cases, but it believes this is only a small portion of these posts. Resident advocates generally believe nursing home abuse and neglect is underreported because many residents cannot report abuse due to their age or developmental impairments.
One documented case of abuse included video of residents engaging in sexual intercourse and pictures of a resident’s genitalia. Another involved a certified nursing assistant sharing a photo of an elderly patient with his pants down, covered in feces. Yet another included a photo of a patient’s backside and the worker’s gloved hand holding fecal matter, with a caption that read, “this is what I do at my job.” The photo was posted to Snapchat. Many of the incidents were carried out through Snapchat, where users post photos or videos that are shown for a certain number of seconds before they disappear. Of course, not only do such posts violate a patient’s right to privacy, but also they have led to criminal charges in some instances.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services told state health departments last summer to enact policies prohibiting staff from taking or distributing demeaning photos and videos of patients. It is estimated that only one in 14 of all elder abuse cases are reported to authorities.
Has Your Loved One Been a Victim of Nursing Home Abuse?
If you believe your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect at the hands of a Maryland nursing home, you and your loved one may be entitled to compensation. Nursing homes should be held responsible for their actions. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, we have nearly two decades of experience representing victims throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C. Our compassionate team of attorneys is here to help answer your questions and guide you through the legal process. Contact us at 800-654-1949 or 410-654-3600, or through our online form, to set up a free consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Social Media’s Role in Perpetuating Nursing Home Abuse, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published August 7, 2017.
Proving Abuse or Neglect in Maryland Nursing Home Cases, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published September 7, 2017.