ProPublica

Journalism in the Public Interest

Inappropriate Social Media Posts by Nursing Home Workers, Detailed

Below are details of 47 incidents since 2012 in which workers at nursing homes and assisted-living centers shared photos or videos of residents on social media networks. The details come from government inspection reports, court cases and media reports.

Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty

Related story: Nursing Home Workers Share Explicit Photos of Residents on Snapchat

Updated Aug. 8, 2016.

Date: January 2012

Facility: CareOne at Livingston

City: Livingston

State: NJ

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: News story, criminal charges

Social media site: Facebook

Description: A nursing assistant photographed a resident's genitals and sent the picture to a friend, who uploaded it to Facebook. The assistant was fired. Both were charged with invasion of privacy and conspiracy. The New Jersey Attorney General's office said the worker was given probation; her friend pre-trial intervention. A spokesman for CareOne, Tim Hodges, said in an interview that the home itself reported the incident to authorities and has a "very strict policy on the use of no mobile devices or cameras in our facility. Fortunately we have not had an incident since then."


Date: October 2012

Facility: St. Ann's Home

City: Rochester

State: NY

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: News story, criminal charges

Social media site: Facebook

Description: A year after she stopped working at the home, a former nurse aide posted a video to Facebook in which an elderly wheelchair-bound resident was harassed. The video showed a hand briefly tugging at the resident's hair. Voices in the video could be heard taunting her, saying among other things: "The boss lady said that if you don’t wash the dishes, she will slap the black off you…and she called you a bitch.” The aide pleaded guilty to one count of willful violation of health laws, a misdemeanor. The home's administrator Susan Murty said an investigation started immediately when an employee discovered the posting and the home worked with authorities to determine its scope. "Most of the people who work in nursing homes are really wonderful people and it’s a shame that this is what people talk about. That’s always our frustration," she said.


Date: November 2012

Facility: Brookview Meadows

City: Green Bay

State: WI

Type of facility: Assisted living

How it became public: News story, criminal charges

Social media site: Snapchat

Description: Two workers took photos and videos of nude or partially nude elderly residents and shared them on Snapchat. One picture showed a resident vomiting; another video showed a resident being assisted with an obstructed bowel, according to a criminal complaint. The employees admitted taking photos and sharing them with one another and with friends. Both pleaded no contest to misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and invasion of privacy through use of a surveillance device. A lawyer for the facility told the Green Bay Press-Gazette at the time the women were charged that both were screened before they were hired, and both were fired after an investigation. The current executive director declined to comment beyond saying the facility has changed ownership since the incident.


Date: December 2012

Facility: Dunmore Health Care Center

City: Dunmore

State: PA

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: Instagram

Description: The name and picture of a resident with Alzheimer's disease were posted on a nursing assistant's Instagram page. The resident "was incapable of granting permission for this social media post and did not give such permission," according to a government inspection report. In its plan of correction, the home said the photo was removed from Instagram and no other residents were affected. The home's administrator declined to comment. Read more information.


Date: Around December 2012

Facility: Saint Albans Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center

City: Saint Albans

State: VT

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: not specified

Description: A video of a resident identified as having dementia was posted on an employee's social media website without the permission of the resident or family. The director of nursing services said "it was brought to my attention by (staff) that on (another staff's social media website) posted something that said 'this is why I love my job' and then there were people's feet but no faces and (Resident #3) was singing. I didn't do an investigation because there was no identifiable people and not sure if (Administrator) might have spoke to (her/him)." The home did not return multiple calls seeking comment.


Date: January 2013

Facility: Valley Convalescent Hospital

City: Watsonville

State: CA

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: Facebook

Description: A nursing assistant posted a picture of a resident's hand on Facebook, with a caption akin to "I am holding her hand til she falls asleep." A comment posted below the photo by a second nursing assistant had a question that included the resident's first name. Both employees were "counseled" for not maintaining confidentiality.


Date: March 2013

Facility: Greenfield Health and Rehabilitation Center

City: Lancaster

State: NY

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: News story, criminal charges

Social media site: Snapchat

Description: A nurse aide took photos of an incontinent resident's genitals covered in fecal matter and shared them with another staff member on Snapchat. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of willful violation of health laws and was given a year of conditional discharge and community service. The home's administrator, Darlene Crispell, told ProPublica that officials reported the incident immediately to the state health department and fired the staff member involved. "Our training has included the prohibition of electronic devices in the work areas as a result. We’re pretty aggressive in monitoring that. Technology is a problem for us, for everybody, these days... The resident involved was not harmed but certainly it was a serious incident."


Date: April 2013

Facility: Autumn Care of Norfolk

City: Norfolk

State: VA

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: not specified

Description: A newly hired nursing assistant posted a picture of a resident with Down's Syndrome on a social media network without consent. The employee admitted to posting the photo and said she would take it down. The employee was asked to come in and meet with the administrator but never came back to work. The home's parent company did not return two calls seeking comment.


Date: Around April 2013

Facility: Deer Crest

City: Red Wing

State: MN

Type of facility: Assisted living

How it became public: Government inspection report, news story

Social media site: Instagram

Description: A staff member took a photo of a resident on the toilet in the bathroom. The picture showed the resident's bare skin and was taken without consent and uploaded to Instagram. The staff member admitted taking the photo, was suspended and ultimately fired. The staff person also was directed to remove the photo from the social media site. The facility was found to be in compliance with state rules. It provided written reminders to all staff about its policies and procedures. Its executive director did not return multiple calls.


Date: May 2013

Facility: Sharon Health Care Pines

City: Peoria

State: IL

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: not specified

Description: A housekeeper posted a picture of a vision- and hearing-impaired resident on her social networking webpage, with the caption "This is my friend," along with the resident's first name. The employee apologized and immediately removed the photo. She said she was not aware that a person could not do such a thing without the resident's consent. The home's administrator told ProPublica that the matter was corrected immediately and that annual training is conducted "so that we’ll never have a repeat issue."


Date: July 2013

Facility: Centers for Living and Rehab

City: Bennington

State: VT

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: Facebook

Description: A staff member took a picture of a resident on the commode and posted it on a social media site. The facility failed to immediately report an incident of possible mistreatment by staff to government inspectors. Spokeswoman Ashley Brenon Jowett said in a statement to ProPublica: "The employee noted in the 2013 report was the granddaughter of a resident. While visiting her grandmother (and not working), she took a photograph and posted it to her personal Facebook page. The grandmother, a resident, was fully dressed in the photo, which was taken to share the excitement of her recovery. Only those who have familiarity with the facility would have been able to discern that the resident was sitting on a commode in the photo. There was no resident or family complaint; when the post was discovered by another staff member, we self-reported the incident as a cautionary measure. The employee was advised of the sensitivity of the situation and immediately removed the image. She understood the facility’s response, was remorseful, and mortified that she could ever have been interpreted as having put her grandmother’s privacy or dignity in jeopardy. "


Date: Around August 2013

Facility: Bishop Drumm Retirement Center

City: Johnston

State: IA

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: News story

Social media site: Instagram

Description: Two employees posted at least one inappropriate photo on a social media website. Officials would not detail the nature of the photos but said both "rogue" employees were fired. In a statement at the time, Bishop Drumm president and chief executive Brian Farrell said publishing photos of a resident not only violates the home's core values, "it also violates the human dignity of the resident.” He said all employees are educated about handling of personal health information, including photos. "Such behavior cannot and will not be tolerated.”


Date: September 2013

Facility: Newaygo Medical Care Facility

City: Fremont

State: MI

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report, news story, criminal charges

Social media site: Snapchat

Description: A nursing assistant was accused of taking a photo of a female resident with Alzheimer's disease on the toilet with her private parts exposed, drawing on a picture of a penis with the caption "limp dick" and sharing it on Snapchat. She was fired and pleaded no contest to a felony charge of using a computer to commit a crime but denied wrongdoing in an interview. The facility had written up the employee twice previously for use of her cell phone and social media at work. Officials at the home did not return calls and emails seeking comment.


Date: February 2014

Facility: Prestige Post-Acute and Rehab Center

City: Centralia

State: WA

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: Snapchat

Description: A nursing assistant recorded a resident on the toilet and shared the video on Snapchat with another nursing assistant who was working on the opposite side of the building. In the video, the resident's face was visible while sitting on a bedside commode with her pants below the knees, cleaning herself while laughing and singing. A third nursing assistant told inspectors that use of cell phones by employees had been going on in the facility for an extended time. In a statement to ProPublica, PrestigeCare said it was an isolated incident and that it instituted new, stricter cellphone and social media policies. “Nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of our residents. When we learned about this issue last year, we took immediate steps to notify the police, along with other state authorities. We immediately placed the employee on suspension pending an investigation, and once complete, terminated her. We also met with the patient’s family and doctor to discuss what happened. We take these situations very seriously and are thankful that our own internal procedures alerted us so promptly to the issue."


Date: February 2014

Facility: Sevier County Health Care Center

City: Sevierville

State: TN

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: News story

Social media site: Facebook

Description: An employee posted an "inappropriate" picture of himself posing in a resident's room. The home's administrator told WJHL-TV at the time that the home fired the employee, but took no additional legal action because there was no evidence patients were in the room when the picture was taken.


Date: March 2014

Facility: Rosewood Care Center

City: St. Charles

State: IL

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report, news story, criminal charges

Social media site: Snapchat

Description: One nursing home assistant recorded another using a nylon strap to lightly slap the face of a 97-year-old resident with dementia. The video was posted on Snapchat. On it, the resident could be heard crying out "Don't! Don't!" as the employees laughed. They were fired, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of battery and were sentenced to probation and community service. Ivy Gleeson, the nursing home administrator, told the Chicago Tribune in 2014 that the two women were fired. “In our facility, resident safety is our utmost concern,” Gleeson said. She did not return calls and emails from ProPublica seeking comment.


Date: April 2014

Facility: George L Mee Memorial Hospital

City: King City

State: CA

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: not specified

Description: Two licensed vocational nurses posted a picture of themselves on a social media site; a health chart with a resident's name was visible. A home official declined to comment, referring a call to its parent organization, which did not return calls.


Date: April 2014

Facility: Gridley Healthcare and Wellness Centre

City: Gridley

State: CA

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report, news story, criminal charges

Social media site: Snapchat

Description: Five nursing assistants were fired and prosecuted for taking and sharing photos and videos of residents. In one, a nursing assistant was twerking (dancing in a sexually provocative way) over a resident's head. In another, a resident only wearing underwear was carried by a male nursing assistant over his shoulder. Some of the pictures involved residents who were inappropriately exposed or appeared to be deceased. One nursing assistant said pictures and videos were sent on many occasions. The facility did not report the abuse in a timely manner because the administrator told inspectors "there was no concrete evidence that it had occurred." Two of the former employees entered pleas of guilty or no contest to felony elder or dependent adult abuse; the others of failing to report the abuse, a misdemeanor. The home's current administrator said the facility changed owners on Sept. 1 and that she could not speak about prior events. A representative of the home’s operator at the time of the incident said in a statement to the Gridley Herald newspaper that the home was cooperating with authorities, took corrective action, and that its highest priority was to “ensure the best quality of care and treatment for our patients.”


Date: July 2014

Facility: Emmanuel Center for Nursing

City: Danville

State: PA

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: not specified

Description: An employee reported receiving a picture of another employee on the floor with a resident while the resident was being changed in the bathroom. The facility did not immediately try to verify the identity of the resident in the photo because only a small portion of the resident's knee was visible. The nursing home administrator and director of nursing told inspectors that their staff did not follow the employee policy on cell phone use or its policy on timely reporting of possible resident abuse. In a statement to ProPublica, Anthony Cooper, the home's administrator, said: "We have implemented a specific set of policies and procedures so as to capitalize on the benefits of social media while continuing to protect the privacy of our residents. Social Media is definitely here to stay and will continue to grow and change. It is an excellent vehicle for families to keep connected and can serve as an effective marketing tool. As long as agencies create a sufficient monitoring system it can have a more positive impact as opposed to negative."


Date: July 2014

Facility: Villa Pines Living Center

City: Friendship

State: WI

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: Snapchat

Description: A resident with one leg had a picture and video of him posted on Snapchat with the word "Jerk!" written across it. The video shows a staff member kicking the resident's wheelchair and the resident kicking back, with laughter in the background. The Snapchat came from a nursing assistant and allegedly was sent to several people. The nursing assistant initially denied taking the video but later admitted it. Jennifer Johnson, the home's regional director of operations, said in a statement: "We have strict guidelines in place to govern the use of social media and cell phone communication, as well as a thorough training program that takes place both at the time of hire and on an annual basis. If we encounter a situation that we believe violates our policies, we address it immediately, thoroughly and with appropriate action. Our guidelines clearly state that an infraction may result in discipline up to, and including, termination."


Date: July 2014

Facility: Nazareth Health and Rehab Center

City: Stoughton

State: WI

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: Snapchat

Description: The facility received a phone call from a community member saying that she had received a Snapchat photo of a resident who was naked, lying in bed, and surrounded by feces. A nursing assistant, who was alleged to have sent the picture, denied it, but days later, admitted to taking Snapchat pictures of residents of the facility. According to inspectors, the facility did not adequately investigate the accusations. The nursing assistant was suspended. Jennifer Johnson, the facility executive director, said in a statement: "Our first priority at Nazareth Health and Rehabilitation Center is the health and safety of our residents and staff. We therefore have thorough policies in place to regulate activity that takes place within our facility. This includes extensive guidelines on social media and cell phone use as well as, of course, standards designed to ensure the confidentiality of our residents. Employees undergo training relative to these policies when they are hired and do so routinely on an annual basis. Should an infraction occur, re-education sessions are held. Also, our guidelines clearly state that an infraction may result in discipline up to, and including, termination."


Date: August 2014

Facility: Great Barrington Rehabilitation and Nursing Center

City: Great Barrington

State: MA

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: Instagram

Description: A photo of a resident's face and a video of the resident telling a joke was found on a nursing assistant's Instagram site, which was viewed by other nursing assistants and a nursing supervisor. The assistant denied that she had an Instagram site or that she posted the resident's picture on an Instagram site. The resident had no knowledge of a staff member taking his/her picture. Susan Moss, a spokeswoman for Kindred Healthcare, which operated the facility until August 2015, said, "Kindred’s policy strictly prohibits employees from taking photographs of patients without obtaining proper written permission. Appropriate disciplinary action is taken if it is determined that an individual employee violated the policy, including posting photographs of patients on social media. The Kindred organization takes its responsibility seriously and conducts regular training and reminders to ensure that the policy is clearly understood by individual employees."


Date: October 2014

Facility: Riverside North Enrichment Community

City: Ames

State: IA

How it became public: News story, criminal charges

Social media site: Snapchat

Description: A nursing assistant recorded a video showing a resident's genitals. She pleaded guilty to one count of dependent adult abuse, a misdemeanor. A spokesperson at the facility told the Ames Tribune at the time that the woman is no longer an employee. The current administrator declined to comment when reached by ProPublica, saying she was not there when the incident happened.


Date: February 2015

Facility: Nevins Nursing and Rehabilitation Centre

City: Methuen

State: MA

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: Facetime

Description: While talking to a friend on FaceTime, the live video chatting service from Apple, a nurse pointed the camera at a resident. At the time of the incident, an aide was washing the resident in bed following an incontinence episode. The aide said the nurse placed the cell phone in the resident's face and demanded that he/she say hi on camera to the person with whom the nurse had been talking. Administrator Joyce Shannon said in a statement to ProPublica that "this self-reported incident was very unfortunate and we are 100 percent committed to protecting and maintaining our resident’s privacy. This was an isolated incident where a temporary agency worker acted indiscreetly around social media. The worker no longer provides care at our facility and all of our staff have received social media, confidentiality and privacy retraining. Most importantly our resident did not receive any ill effects from this incident."


Date: February 2015

Facility: Autumn Care Center (now Price Road Health and Rehabilitation Center)

City: Newark

State: OH

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: Snapchat

Description: Someone from the community called the facility after being disturbed by a nursing assistant's posting on Snapchat of two residents lying in bed in hospital gowns being coached to say "I'm in love with the coco" (lyrics of a gangster rap song). As the male resident said the words, a banner appeared across his chest that said, "Hahahhahaha omg" with three laughing emoticons; as the female repeated the words, a banner across her chest said, "Got these hoes trained." The female resident's son said his mother would have been embarrassed because she had previously worked as a church secretary for 30 years. After facility staff learned of the conduct, they allowed the nursing assistant to complete her shift. The director of nursing said she did not send her home because "she didn't know the identity of the residents on the video and didn't feel it was abuse." The nursing assistant subsequently resigned. "A systemic breakdown in implementing the facility abuse policy was identified," inspectors wrote. The home's current owner, Greystone Healthcare Management, took over days after the incident. A spokeswoman said it "provides extensive, on-going training, support and oversight to insure that we provide patient centered care."


Date: April 2015

Facility: Village Creek Nursing Home

City: Fort Worth

State: TX

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: not specified

Description: A nursing assistant posted a picture of a resident with severe cognitive impairment on a social media website. The nursing assistant told inspectors that she posted the picture because the resident had on a nice hat, and she had her hair done, so they took a picture together in the dining room. "She stated it was not a bad picture." The administrator and assistant administrator both told inspectors that they were unaware of the resident's picture being posted on the nursing assistant's social media page. The home did not return calls seeking comment.


Date: April 2015

Facility: Roselawn Gardens Nursing and Rehabilitation

City: Alliance

State: OH

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: Facebook

Description: A facility audit of staff members' Facebook pages revealed two staffers had photos of a resident on their personal Facebook pages. John Ingles, the home's current administrator, said he was not in his position at the time and could not provide additional details. "We have not had it happen again," he said.


Date: April 2015

Facility: Golden LivingCenter - Pierre

City: Pierre

State: SD

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report, news story, criminal charges

Social media site: Snapchat

Description: An anonymous caller told the home's executive director that a nursing assistant had sent her a photo and video of a resident in the bathtub via Snapchat. The employee was suspended but law enforcement was not notified. The executive director told inspectors she was unsure if the incident constituted abuse. The aide was charged with a misdemeanor for photographing the resident. She pleaded guilty to secretly recording the body of a person and was sentenced to three days in jail, according to the Argus Leader newspaper. In a statement to ProPublica, parent company Golden Living, said: “We conduct full background checks of every new employee in accordance with state and federal requirements. If they have done something abusive to another person in the past, they do not come to work for us. Unfortunately, everyone who has ever hired or supervised someone knows that there is an element of unpredictability in human behavior. Our systems of oversight in our LivingCenters offer reasonable protection against the possibility that an employee will misbehave, but there is always a risk that anti-social conduct will go undetected for a short period of time.” The woman’s family has filed a lawsuit against the home.


Date: May 2015

Facility: The Waters of Scottsburg

City: Scottsburg

State: IN

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report, news story, criminal charges

Social media site: Snapchat

Description: A nursing assistant took a picture of a resident's backside and buttocks and shared it on Snapchat. A second assistant admitted to taking a photo of another resident who was both cursing and calling people names. In September, one of the assistants pleaded guilty to a charge of voyeurism. The home's administrator referred a reporter to a corrective-action plan filed with the state. In that plan, the home said residents were assessed for mental disturbance related to the pictures but nothing negative was found. The home also re-educated staff about its cell phone policy and further restricted their use in resident care areas.


Date: June 2015

Facility: Bethany Woods Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

City: Albemarle

State: NC

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: Snapchat

Description: A geriatric certified aide took pictures and videos of a resident and posted them on Snapchat. One video showed the resident kicking his legs in the air, yelling, and on the video it stated his name and said it was after his "happy medications." In the other video, he was just lying there while the aide asked him what's wrong. She was terminated. The home's interim administrator said she has no knowledge of the incident and declined comment.


Date: July 2015

Facility: Windsor Place

City: Daingerfield

State: TX

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: not specified

Description: A picture on the social media website of a nursing assistant showed a resident in bed with only a blue bed pad covering her buttocks. The resident had her arms crossed over her breasts and her legs drawn upward. The assistant said she took the photo because the assistant director of nursing asked her to do so, in order to show a physician bruising on her body (the assistant director denied doing so.) The nursing assistant said she was not aware the photos were uploaded on her account. She was terminated. The administrator told inspectors that nurses were the only staff with permission to take pictures of the residents, and that was only if a physician requested it. The home did not return multiple calls seeking comment.


Date: July 2015

Facility: Wingate at Belvidere

City: Lowell

State: MA

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: News story, criminal charges

Social media site: Snapchat

Description: Two nurses aides face charges of elder abuse for posting humiliating videos of residents on social media. According to the Lowell Sun newspaper, one video shows an elderly resident sitting on a commode while dressed and being asked about her sex life and if she smoked marijuana. Another shows the same resident sleeping when one of the aides yells in her ear, waking her up. A third shows a 75-year-old resident making noises to show her teeth with the caption, "Chuckie's Bride." The employees were fired. In a statement to New England Cable News, the home said, "The investigation revealed that the employees violated Wingate at Belvidere’s strict policies concerning patient safety and privacy of three residents and as a result, these individuals were terminated. We were able to confirm that no private health information, such as names or clinical information was captured on the videos." The home did not return phone calls from ProPublica.


Date: July 2015

Facility: Maplewood Center

City: Amesbury

State: MA

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: not specified

Description: A nursing assistant posted a photograph of two residents in the facility dining room. When interviewed by inspectors, one resident was unable to respond to questions. The other did not recall being photographed and did not like the photograph and would not have liked it shown to others. The nursing assistant told inspectors that it was a known violation of residents' privacy to photograph them and said the picture was accidentally taken and posted. The assistant said the photograph and post were immediately deleted when he was notified by staff at the facility. Although staff were not allowed to have cellular telephones on the units or in resident areas, it was not enforced, the nursing assistant said. The home did not return multiple calls seeking comment.


Date: August 2015

Facility: Sierra Vista Healthcare

City: Fresno

State: CA

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: Instagram

Description: A housekeeper posted photographs of two residents on Instagram. One photo showed a resident in a nightgown with her torso on the bed and her feet on the floor. The caption on the picture indicated that the resident was “trying to escape from bed.” At the bottom of the picture was a heart-shaped icon and 11 likes (from the public). A second resident was shown seated next to another person. The resident’s head and shoulder were visible. Below the picture was a heart-shaped icon and 20 likes (from the public). The caption below the picture said “A picture is worth a thousand words; and worth a million memories.” The resident’s first name was printed on the text under the picture three times. The home was notified of the photos by another resident’s family member. The housekeeper deleted the photos. The home’s policy does not allow staff to use personal cell phones with cameras in the facility. Citing privacy, DeAnn Walters, the facility’s administrator, declined comment on whether the housekeeper still workers there. Walters, who was hired this year, also declined to comment on the outcome of the facility’s internal investigation, saying only that staff had been retrained on the cell phone policy. “We always do everything we can to protect the privacy of our residents, and take the steps we need to make sure they get the treatment they need,” she said.


Date: August 2015

Facility: Yuma Life Care Center

City: Yuma

State: CO

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: Snapchat

Description: A youth volunteer shared a selfie on Snapchat that showed a 108-year-old resident urinating. The volunteer distributed the photo, which showed the resident’s buttocks, to her friends at school in August 2015. It was not reported to the facility until three months later, when a regular visitor to the facility was told of the photo by someone who had seen it on her co-worker’s phone. Government inspectors “revealed the facility had not conducted and routinely did not conduct background checks on volunteers or monitor, in any way, their presence in the facility.” The facility’s director of nursing also told police she was unaware of when the volunteer in question was in the facility because “she never kept track of the volunteers.” The volunteer reported to a police station in December 2015, telling police she’d taken the photo “because she thought it was funny.” Brittny Lewton, district attorney for Colorado’s 13th Judicial District, said the volunteer faces charges of invasion of privacy and will appear in court for a hearing on July 11. She expects the volunteer, a minor, will receive probation and a fine, but no jail time. “I have been here for 12 years and I have never seen anything like this,” she said, adding that the area’s nursing homes are “vital” to the rural community. The facility did not return calls for comment.


Date: August 2015

Facility: Luther Manor

City: Milwaukee

State: WI

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: Facebook

Description: An unknown person entered a resident’s room and filmed the resident calling out for help. The video was posted on Facebook by a user the facility could not identify. The facility did not report the incident to state authorities, who learned of the matter through a tip months later. Officials later said they didn’t report it on the advice of their attorney. Stephanie Chedid, the facility’s CEO, declined to comment on any changes the facility made to avoid similar incidents in the future, saying such steps were “internal information.” Chedid said the facility has “taken every step” to “ensure our community can be a safe and private environment for our residents and guests.”


Date: September 2015

Facility: Carillon Assisted Living

City: Newton

State: NC

Type of facility: Assisted living

How it became public: News story

Social media site: Snapchat

Description: Three personal care assistants were fired after an employee took a photo of a resident on the toilet and posted it on Snapchat. Keith Ensey, regional director of operations for Carillon Assisted Living told WBTV, "We substantiated abuse for the three team members--the person taking the picture and the two team members seen in the picture. They were fired for breaking multiple company policies involving the cell phone policy, social media policy, violation of resident's rights and also violation of privacy policies." Ensey told the station that his investigation did not uncover any other similar incidents. "It's just such an appalling act," he told the station. "And such a defenseless resident."


Date: October 2015

Facility: LifeHOUSE Vista Healthcare Center

City: Vista

State: CA

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: News story, criminal charges

Social media site: Snapchat

Description: An employee took footage of a partially nude woman getting in the shower. A second employee is standing behind the resident laughing. Both were suspended and later fired. One of the employees was charged this month with misdemeanor counts of elder abuse and unauthorized invasion of privacy. Tom Allen, a lawyer for the home, told ProPublica that officials responded quickly when they learned about the video. The home was not cited by California regulators for any wrongdoing. "From my perspective, this is criminal elder abuse and we won’t put up with it and we didn’t put up with it." He said the facility was drafting new policies to deal with the issues.


Date: November 2015

Facility: Quabbin Valley Healthcare

City: Athol

State: MA

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: Snapchat

Description: After the state health department received a tip, two nursing assistants conceded to nursing home officials that they had shared photographs of three residents on Snapchat. The first assistant took photos of one resident sitting on the toilet and another in a bedroom. The other assistant took a photograph of a resident in a common area. The assistants said they took and shared the photographs as a means of keeping track of one another. One of the people who received the photographs via Snapchat complained to another person, saying, “If I had a dollar for every naked person on the toilet…” A complaint was then filed with the state health department. When questioned by government inspectors, the assistants denied taking pictures of residents. The assistants were fired immediately and the home provided education to staff about its cell phone policy and about patient privacy. The home did not return multiple calls seeking comment.


Date: November 2015

Facility: Meadowbrook Behavioral Health Center

City: Los Angeles

State: CA

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: Instagram

Description: Police were notified after a video was posted to Instagram showing one employee bending “his rear-end over the resident’s head and [expelling] gas over the resident’s face.” The incident was reported to the nursing home’s administration in November 2015 by an employee who was also the mother of one of the employees involved. Inspectors interviewed the resident, who said “facility employees passed gas in his face as often as every month.” Both employees involved with taking the video (the one who passed gas and the one who taped it) no longer work at the facility. Neither the facility nor the Los Angeles Police Department returned calls for comment.


Date: January 2016

Facility: Parkside Manor

City: Kenosha

State: WI

Type of facility: Assisted living

How it became public: News story, criminal charges

Social media site: Snapchat

Description: A nursing assistant admitted to taking video of a 93-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease sitting on her bed in a bra with no underwear or pants. She shared the video on Snapchat with friends. The employee said the resident “was giving her a hard time getting changed over for bed,” according to a criminal complaint. She was fired and charged with a felony count of taking a nude photo without consent. In a statement, David Richey, senior regional director of operations at Senior Lifestyle Corp., said the facility promptly investigated the incident and reported it to state regulators and to police. “The termination of this employee is consistent with our zero tolerance policy relating to actions contrary our code of conduct. Actions such as this will never be tolerated at our community. Our code of conduct contains very specific guidelines to govern employee behavior and includes policies regarding social networking and the use of technology that the employee in question clearly violated.”


Date: February 2016

Facility: Arbors at Michigan City

City: Michigan City

State: IN

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: News story, criminal charges

Social media site: Snapchat

Description: A nursing assistant was charged with felony and misdemeanor counts for posting a video of a patient in the shower. According to WNDU TV, the video “depicted an 85-year-old dementia patient naked in the shower while the staff sprayed her with water. Witnesses to the video told supervisors they heard [the aide’s] voice in the recording saying ‘look at this crazy bitch she doesn't like taking showers.’ When confronted, the aide reportedly told her supervisor she meant to take a photo of just the woman's face to show two other employees and ‘accidentally’ posted it on her public Snapchat feed.” Court records noted that the video included a caption “She f***ing hates showers. S***.” The home’s lawyer, Frederick Frankel told the TV station that "we are trying to take every step possible to protect the privacy of our residents."


Date: February 2016

Facility: Friendship Village

City: Dayton

State: OH

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: Snapchat

Description: A picture of a sleeping resident was shared to Snapchat without permission. The photo showed the resident asleep in her room with “the fingers of one hand in the side of her pants, like where a pocket would be located.” According to a government inspection report, the resident had “severely impaired cognitive skills, impaired decision making and was totally dependent on staff for personal hygiene, including oral care.” The resident’s great-granddaughter called the facility to complain after seeing the photo, and the staff member was immediately suspended and later fired. The facility’s staff was reeducated on the use of technology. “We take the safety and dignity of all residents very seriously,” said Jerome Demmings, executive director of the facility, in an email. Demmings said Friendship Village provides education both at the time of hire and on an ongoing basis on cellphone use; he called this employee’s actions an “isolated” event.


Date: February 2016

Facility: Kindred Transitional Care and Rehabilitation-Kokomo

City: Kokomo

State: IN

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: Facebook

Description: A nursing home employee was fired in May after posting a memorial photo on Facebook of a resident who had died. The photo, posted in February, showed the resident in a wheelchair, smiling, with the caption, “Fly away until another day soon soon we will be on are (sic) way.” The photo was discovered by the facility’s administration in May, and while the employee had told a nursing home official that the family had given permission to take the photo, government inspectors were unable to verify this. In an improvement plan provided to the state, the facility indicated all employees would receive additional education on social media policy. The state cited the home for a breach of personal privacy, but the facility disagreed, telling the state that, “the resident identified was deceased at the time the photo was posted to social media so was not affected.” In a statement, the facility’s executive director, Ginny Byrket, said Kindred’s social media policy “strictly prohibits employees from taking photographs of patients without obtaining proper written permission.” She said her organization “takes its responsibility seriously and conducts regular training and reminders to ensure that the policy is clearly understood by individual employees.”


Date: March 2016

Facility: Miller’s Senior Living Community

City: Indianapolis

State: IN

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: Facebook

Description: Two housekeepers filmed themselves dancing and singing a rap song with a resident and uploaded it to Facebook without the resident’s permission. A staff member brought it to the attention of the facility’s executive director, who suspended the two housekeepers pending an investigation. The resident, who was moderately cognitively impaired but required little regular assistance, told facility administrators that he was aware he was being filmed and was not upset about the incident. The resident did not seem to understand what it meant for the video to be uploaded onto social media, but told administrators that he “was not upset or concerned about the incident,” describing it as “just a little fun.” The facility did not return calls for comment.


Date: March 2016

Facility: Hubbard Care Center

City: Hubbard

State: IA

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government Inspection Report

Social media site: Snapchat

Description: A nursing assistant was fired after sharing a photo on Snapchat of an elderly and incapacitated resident with his pants down and feces on his legs, shirt and left hand. The resident had extreme cognitive impairments due to dementia. The staff member captioned the photo “shit galore” and sent it to several other employees, one of whom reported it to the home’s administration. The resident’s family asked to speak with the aide to express their disappointment and told her “they hoped she never worked in another nursing home again,” the inspection report said. Kendall Watkins, a lawyer for the home, called the incident an “isolated act” and said the facility responded quickly and appropriately. He said the facility had an adequate social media policy in place prior to the incident, which the staff member ignored. Hardin County Deputy Sheriff Jeffrey Brenneman said his office had recommended the nursing home contact state regulators regarding the incident, but did not file criminal charges against the aide. The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals fined the facility $1,000 for the incident but did not pursue criminal charges because the resident’s genitals were not exposed.

Date: May 2016

Facility: Mt. Healthy Christian Home

City: Cincinnati

State: OH

Type of facility: Nursing home

How it became public: Government inspection report

Social media site: Facebook

Description: A nursing assistant posted a video on Facebook of a resident sitting in the shower room, with smiley face emojis obscuring her face. The video showed the nursing assistant holding up the resident’s white hair, asking “Is this your hair? Is this the best you have…?” before using an explicit word, which was censored in the government inspection report. While the resident was clothed, and only her hair and one ear were visible in the video, the director of nursing told inspectors it was clear the video was shot in the facility’s bathroom. The government inspection report said the resident was cognitively impaired. The video was reported to the director of nursing by another employee, and the nursing assistant removed the video from Facebook. Other employees knew of the video but did not report it to administration “in a timely manner,” the inspection report said. The nursing assistant was immediately fired, and the director of nursing re-educated staff on the facility’s policy banning staff from taking pictures or videos of residents, and on the requirement that all violations of the policy be reported the same day. The facility declined a request for comment.

Sahir Doshi contributed research to this report.

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