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Elder abuse posted on social media

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo Plotkin & Hellman LLP

Two nursing home workers could face felony charges of elder abuse for images of a resident they captured on their cell phones and posted on social media. The images were of a 90-year-old female resident as she was naked and about to take a shower. One worker can be seen in the image in the background laughing at the resident. A news source reports that the Department of Justice and the Department of Health are helping the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department in the investigation.

The two workers have since been suspended from the nursing home and face charges for both elder abuse and violating a patient’s bill of rights. The workers posted the image to the social media platform Snapchat. Within days of the images reaching social media, they were reported to authorities and to the news.

An attorney for the nursing home says that they are willing to cooperate fully with the investigation and hope it can bring about policy changes that may prevent things like this from happening in the future. Although the nursing home has received some phone calls since the story broke, there have not been a huge number of family members pulling their loved ones from the facility. The resident that is the subject of this investigation remains at the facility as well.

According to authorities and the facilities attorney, this is a clear case of elder abuse, and charges should be expected. While this case is unfolding in California, it can happen anywhere. Cell phones are often seen as an extension of ourselves and with so many people on social media, nearly everyone uses it as a way to document things, even if they shouldn’t be shared.

For families that have loved ones in nursing home facilities, the hope is that charges are filed promptly against these two people and that it sets an example for other workers. In the event that a situation like this takes place in New York, families should seek the representation of a skilled attorney.

Source:, “Lawyer: Video of naked woman is a criminal act,” Allison Ash, Oct. 19, 2015

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