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Nursing home abuse can occur via the internet

When a person needs to be placed in a nursing home in Illinois, the goal is that he or she receives necessary care without concerns about neglect, abuse or even nursing home death due to mistakes or mistreatment on the part of the staff. However, it is an unfortunate reality that these things sometimes occur. Often, the victim's family might not realize what is happening before it is too late. Making matters worse, abuse can come in many different forms and it can go beyond physical and emotional mistreatment.

One issue that has come to light is the use of social media by workers at facilities. One such matter centered on an incident in Iowa in which an image was placed online of a resident who was covered in excrement. This particular issue was not illegal, as the law in the state did not apply to this particular situation. The employee was fired after being reported, but she is able to find another job in the nursing industry in the state.

This incident is an example of an issue that frequently confronts law enforcement when the privacy of a resident in a facility is violated with images placed on social media. One story stated that there were almost three dozen of these cases in which Snapchat was used. Nine more incidents have occurred since that story came out. Politicians have gotten involved as social media companies have been contacted to see how this type of abuse can be handled from their end.

Nursing home owners have tried to intervene with training tactics and strategies when allegations arise. The majority of reports have come from fellow employees who have witnessed the images being taken and were aware of them being posted. The facility in Iowa was fined for what happened. With all of these steps being taken, one factor that is left unconsidered is how it affects the resident and what the family can do about it. If there is a belief that this level of abuse has been occurring, then the victim and his or her family must understand their rights to seek compensation through a lawsuit. Speaking to a legal professional who is experienced in all aspects of nursing home abuse may be able to help with pursuing a case.

Source: NPR, "Social Media Abuse of Nursing Home Residents Often Goes Unchecked," Charles Ornstein, July 14, 2016

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