An increasing number of elderly and disabled caregivers consider their abusive behavior to be a joke.
Many of these caregivers record and share videos on Snapchat, because the posts are automatically deleted after a brief period of time and there is no permanent record. One worker distributed a video of an elderly resident sitting on a toilet with her pants down, while another one shared video of a worker striking a 97-year-old dementia patient with a nylon strap as the surrounding employees laughed. Another video showed an unseen worker grabbing an elderly resident’s hair while issuing taunts to the delight of the other workers. The video’s caption was “I miss these mornings.” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who prosecuted that case, declared that “We will not tolerate medical professionals who abuse and exploit the trust of nursing residents by broadcasting private and sensitive medical issues on social media.”
Snapchat emphasized that these incidents represent only a tiny, tiny fraction of the estimated six billion videos that are shared on the site each day.
Nursing Home Abuse
Like all forms of elder abuse, these incidents are probably drastically underreported, often because the dementia patients do not realize that they are being exploited. There are a number of other reasons as well, including fear of reprisal and a desire that the offending party “not get in trouble.”
This under-reporting is one of the best reasons to bring suit in these matters, because where there is smoke there is fire. In other words, if one patient is abused by a private caregiver or at a public facility, there are almost certainly additional victims. By taking action on behalf of your loved one, you help put a stop to the activity.
In addition to physical abuse and humiliation, some other forms of abuse include:
- Isolation: There are many reasons why a resident or patient may be left alone for long periods of time; two of the more common ones are lack of staffing and as a form of punishment.
- Financial: This broad category includes the outright theft of money or valuables, telephone scams designed to fraudulently obtain money, and coerced signatures on wills or other testamentary documents.
- Resident on Resident: Low staff levels mean that petty quarrels become violent outbursts. Many victims are so physically frail that it takes very little force to inflict serious injuries.
Victims are typically entitled to compensation for both their economic and non-economic losses.
The most vulnerable people in society deserve extra protection. For a free consultation with attorneys who stand up for victims, contact our office. After hours and hospital visits are available.