Abusers often target our most vulnerable citizens; young children, individuals with mental or physical disabilities, and the elderly. Considering that many nursing home residents are elderly and have an age-related physical or mental disability, these individuals are at an increased risk of abuse and negligence. Unfortunately, elderly residents often keep the abuse to themselves out of fear of retaliation or punishment. While the vast majority of nursing home staff have residents’ best interests in mind, there are far too many exceptions. A recent nursing home abuse case in Lowell, MA is yet another example. Contact a Boston Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today.
Jay Bousquet’s 76-year-old mother was a resident at the Wingate at Belvidere when employees humiliated the elderly woman on social media. Bousquet’s mother, Jane, was undergoing dementia and Parkinson’s treatments when two nursing aides took several unflattering videos of the confused woman and shared them on the video messaging app, Snapchat. “It breaks my heart for what happened to my mother, it breaks my heart for what happened to the other victims,” said Bousquet.
Nursing Aides Abused Patient Trust
According to prosecutors, Jane was not the only victim. “All of the victims in this case were vulnerable elderly women that had dementia,” said prosecutors. Kala Lopez and Sabrina Costa pleaded guilty to elder abuse in court in April. Although they apologized for their actions, their words provide little comfort to the victims’ families. “They abused their responsibilities, they abused the trust that they were given to take care of these people,” Bosquet said.
Furthermore, these incidents were not isolated events. In the Lowell area, there were at least four other nursing home violations over the last year. However, this most recent case is drawing attention to the violation of patient / resident privacy on social media, and federal action is being sought. Sen. Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter to the attorney general in March of this year, requesting a federal investigation into privacy violations involving nursing home residents and social media. In addition, Grassley is discussing improvements in nursing home inspections with Medicare and Medicaid. “This sort of abuse is just the opposite of human decency,” said Grassley.
According to Snapchat, the incidents violated their guidelines and users are able to report violations. However, that does little to remedy this growing problem. For victims and their loved ones, stricter criminal penalties and changes in policy may be the only effective methods of reducing this form of abuse. “Anything to prevent these types of things from happening again in the future, I’m all for,” Bousquet said. Wingate’s attorney claims that the nursing home has banned employee cell phone use. Costa and Lopez received a sentence of three years’ probation for their actions.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers with More than 50 Years’ Experience
If you suspect a loved one is being abused in a nursing home or other long-term care facility, the compassionate legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We understand the sensitive nature of these cases. Our goal is to protect your loved one as quickly as possible, so that he or she can feel safe and comfortable once again. When caretakers abuse their power by harming those in their care, whether physically or emotionally, they should be held accountable for their actions. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.