According to a report from KGTV 10 News, San Diego, California, the Department of Health and Human Services, through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), is taking a toughened stance against instances of “social media abuse” in nursing homes. The CMS issued a nationwide memo to state health departments calling upon nursing homes and the state departments that oversee their operations to begin creating and following policies limiting the ability of nursing home workers to abuse residents through social media. The new directives come after numerous cases across the country – including one alleged, recently-reported instance in Vista – of nursing home workers taking advantage of residents under their care using social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Social Media Used to Abuse Nursing Home Residents
Numerous incidents paint a picture of the “typical” instance of nursing home abuse: An elderly resident residing in a nursing home is vulnerable because he or she is suffering from some physical and/or (oftentimes) mental condition. Nursing home workers take photographs or videos of these residents in various stages of undress or in other embarrassing circumstances and then upload these photos and videos to social media platforms. This (of course) is designed to expose the nursing home resident to embarrassment and humiliation (although, because of the mental conditions many of these residents have, the residents themselves are often unaware of what the nursing home worker is doing). Family and friends of the mistreated resident are oftentimes made aware of the humiliating photo or video when they come upon it online by chance.