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Nursing Aides Charged and Fired Over Snapchat Video Showing Resident with Dementia Being Taunted

Two former Illinois nursing home aides who recently pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges for disorderly conduct were sent away with a “supervision” and a “no contact” order after the judge declared their behavior to be unacceptable.

The video taken four days before Christmas 2018 was posted on Snapshot social media with two laughing emojis. The caption for the video reads, “[patient’s name deleted] hates gowns!”

The resident’s outraged family filed a lawsuit asking for over $1 million in damages and alleging that the resident’s privacy was violated and the nursing home “turned a blind eye, despite the video evidence.”

The resident’s daughter also expressed further anger because the facility’s administration initially cleared the aides and allowed them to continue working for several weeks.

The resident’s family expressed concern about the aides being able to work at other healthcare facilities.

The Illinois State Healthcare Worker Registry still lists the aides as eligible CNAs.

Compliance Perspective

Failure to protect residents’ rights to privacy and freedom from abuse by unauthorized taunting, taking videos, and posting them on social media by employees may be considered provision of sub-standard quality of care, in violation of state and federal regulations.

Discussion Points:

  • Review policies and procedures regarding investigations of incidents where employees use cell phones or other devices to make unauthorized videos of residents and whether violations should require immediate suspension/termination.
  • Train staff regarding the facility’s policies and procedures prohibiting the taking of unauthorized photos/videos/recordings of residents and also residents’ rights to privacy and freedom from abuse and neglect.
  • Periodically audit investigations regarding complaints about residents’ rights to privacy and allegations of abuse. Interview residents and staff to learn if they have experienced or are aware of any incidents of taking of unauthorized photos/videos/ recordings.