When you sign the papers at a nursing home to register a loved one in a nursing home, the last thing you expect is for them to be abused, neglected, or exploited. This is especially true when the nursing home is a well-known and skilled rehabilitation facility. Unfortunately, exploitation of nursing home residents is a real issue in our country, and it has been a serious issue of concern for the state of Indiana, as well.
Indiana Nursing Home Under Investigation
Just over a year ago, The Waters of Scottsburg, a facility that serves nearly 90 residents who require daily care, was under investigation due to nude photos surfacing of one of its residents. The facility released an official statement that said: “We immediately notified all proper authorities, conducted an internal investigation, and have taken other appropriate action.” Sadly enough, this probably did not make the family of the resident feel any better about what took place.
What happened was quite simple: nude photos of a resident were allegedly found on social media. However, there is not a simple explanation for this type of exploitation. What type of person could possibly take nude photos of a vulnerable elderly person and then post them on social media? According to the news station, as many as three employees of The Waters of Scottsburg were part of the investigation that was being handled by the Indiana Department of Health and the Scottsburg police department.
The Waters of Scottsburg said that the three nursing assistants were suspended. Since that incident, no new news has surfaced on the issue, despite the fact that the case was turned over to local prosecutors, who were in charge of making any decisions regarding any possible criminal charges. In a similar sickening story, a certified nursing assistant (CNA) who worked at Asperion Care in Michigan City was criminally charged for posting a video of an elderly resident in the shower on Snapchat.
Snapchat Elderly Voyeurism
The CNA involved is not worth the mentioning of her name, and due to patient privacy, the patient’s name has been withheld from the news. The court documents stated that the video showed the 85-year-old victim naked in the shower while the CNA sprayed her with water. The CNA’s voice could be heard in the video saying, “look at this crazy…she doesn’t like taking showers.” The resident was a dementia patient who certainly deserved at least her dignity to be protected while in the care of a professional caretaker. When the CNA was confronted about the video, she told her supervisor that she “accidentally” posted the video on Snapchat and she only meant to snap a photo of the elderly patient’s face.
As the investigation continued, more evidence indicated that the CNA was not telling the truth. A screenshot of the video was procured by someone who showed it to supervisors of Asperion Care. The court record denotes that the screenshot included the elderly patient sitting naked on a chair in the shower, completely exposed, with a caption that basically said “She hates showers,” when we remove the unnecessary wording that was used.
“Each facility resident and employee should be free of any fear that he or she will be photographed or videotaped, or have his or her voice recorded, copied or transmitted improperly. Therefore, employees are prohibited from possessing or using, or assisting another person to possess or use a recording device while on the premises of the facility or while working for the facility.”
Another Recent Story of Disgust
As if the last two stories were not enough to let people know that this type of behavior is not acceptable and will be prosecuted, another news story popped up in Wisconsin just recently. Eau Claire police have charged two certified nursing assistants with felony counts for sharing a naked photo of another dementia patient, as well. One of the CNAs is charged with capturing and distributing a nude representation without consent and the other CAN is charged as a party to the crime.
According to the criminal complaint, both of the CNAs were working the night shift when they noticed that a male patient had fallen in the hallway. He was on the floor, his pants were down, and he was exposed. One of the CNAs decided at that moment to snap a photo of the dementia patient and shared it on social media. According to a witness, both of the CNAs found the scenario of the poor elderly man on the floor “hilarious.” The same witness says that one of the CNAs snapped a photo and sent it through Snapchat to her boyfriend.
While a forensic examination did not turn up the photograph, however a text message between the two defendants did confirm that the incident occurred. Both of the CNAs were fired by Azura Memory Care and face criminal charges, facing up to 3 ½ years in prison each and up to a $10,000 fine.
You do not have to be a certified nursing assistant to realize that these incidents are inappropriate and disgusting. CNAs are supposed to be an elderly patient’s advocate and caretaker, not the person who degrades and disgraces them. These three incidents are clear depictions of betraying the trust of patients. Anyone who works in a nursing home should ensure that they are doing everything they can to protect their patient’s rights, their dignity, and their privacy.
If a loved one has been exploited, neglected, or abused in an Indianapolis nursing home, you need to contact an dedicated Indianapolis nursing home attorney today to discuss your options. This type of behavior is not appropriate and someone needs to be held accountable for the embarrassment and emotional distress this has caused everyone involved. Contact us today online or call us for a free consultation.