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Nursing Home Abuse Can Happen on Social Media

Posted on: January 8, 2016 by Edwards & Patterson Law

nursing home negligence

The question of how best to care for aging parents and loved ones is something that confronts many of us today. While some older adults are perfectly capable of remaining in their own homes and living independently, others suffer from conditions that require more comprehensive care. Nursing homes and long-term care residences provide a variety of services for our aging family members or friends, and we trust these facilities to provide the quality care these loved one’s need.

Unfortunately, as increasing numbers of people requiring nursing home care, there have been rising reports of abuse. Nursing home abuse and neglect have been ongoing issues in our society, and new instances of elder abuse involving the sharing of degrading photos on social media are the latest form of a long-standing problem.

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are over 1.4 million older adults who currently reside in nursing home care facilities. Research conducted by the CDC discovered that 1 in 10 of people over the age of 60 who lived in nursing home facilities reported some form of nursing home abuse or neglect, and it is estimated that there are nearly twice as many cases of elder abuse that go unreported. The 2015 CDC fact sheet “Understanding Elder Abuse” lists common types of nursing home abuse and neglect, which include:

  • Physical Abuse – Injuriesoccur as a result of violent behaviors such as hitting, slapping, pinching, pushing, kicking or burning.
  • Emotional or Psychological Abuse – This type of abuse may involve teasing, name-calling, shaming, or any type of behavior that creates fear, anxiety, or humiliation for the victim.
  • Financial Abuse – Residents in nursing homes are particularly vulnerable to having their money or personal assets stolen by nursing home staff, as well as being persuaded to give money or bank account information to their caregivers.
  • Neglect – This type of abuse involves withholding food, water, medical care, or failing to attend to the nursing home resident’s personal health and hygiene.
  • Sexual Abuse–Sexual abuse may include sexual harassment or any type of unwanted touching or sexual acts.

A recent Washington Post article on nursing home care and abuse highlights the latest form of elder abuse occurring in nursing homes, which is the sharing of obscene or degrading pictures of nursing home residents on social media sites. The article reports that over 35 cases of this type of abuse have been reported over the last several years, involving nursing home staff posting photos and videos of residents partially clothed or being physically and verbally abused on websites such as Snapchat and Facebook.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

If you have a family member or loved one living in a nursing home or long-term care facility, you can help to protect them from danger by being aware of the signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse and neglect. According to the United States Administration on Aging, signs that your loved one is being abused or neglected include the following:

  • Unexplained bruises, broken bones, burns and abrasions.
  • Depression, lack of interest and withdrawal from activities and interests they once enjoyed.
  • Missing property or changes in their overall financial situation.
  • Unexplained weight loss, medical conditions, and poor hygiene.

If you notice any of the above signs, you should speak with the nursing home administration immediately. Unfortunately, these administrators often ignore or downplay reports of abuse or neglect, while failing to act to stop the abusive behavior. An experienced elder abuse attorney can help you ensure that your concerns and complaints are being addressed and that your loved one receives the care they need.

If you suspect a loved one is suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect, contact our experienced McAlester Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer today. Our Elder Abuse Attorneys at Edwards & Patterson, we handle cases throughout the surrounding areas of Oklahoma and Arkansas from our McAlester and Tulsa offices. We can assist you in holding responsible parties accountable and getting your loved one the compensation they deserve for the injuries they have suffered. Call or contact us online today for a free consultation.

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