Social media gives people ways to interact with one another and share information. Unfortunately, sometimes people can abuse this privilege and infringe upon the rights and privacy of others.

Particularly when caregivers use social media to expose or make fun of elderly patients, this can lead to serious accusations of abuse. For both parties, it is important to understand how social media plays into these scenarios.

Influx of use of social media

Over the last few years, there has been a rise in reports of caregivers sharing inappropriate photos and videos of elderly patients. They usually share these posts to a number of social media websites and in a variety of ways. Whether posts share the face or identity of patients or not, they are still an invasion of privacy, and for those who witness or become aware of the caregivers’ actions, it can have negative mental and emotional effects.

CMS regulation

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is dedicated to the protection of patient rights to privacy, confidentiality and a dignified existence. The agency continues to pursue this by reshaping and redefining what it means to abuse an elderly person. CMS is calling for care facilities and programs to revisit or establish regulations for the use of social media, in the workplace and amongst employees.

Reporting

In most, if not all, instances of elderly abuse through social media, authorities find out about them through a means of reporting. Especially with media where the videos disappear from regular audience view, regulating bodies may not catch it. Even when people post the inappropriate videos or photos on social media sites that leave a lasting, viewable digital footprint, parties looking to crack down on the violation may not readily see them. Therefore, it is up to viewers who see the media to report it to proper authorities.

Making postings of people without their consent is wrong, and possibly abusive. As regulations develop and concerned citizens continue to report such actions, hopefully, a change is on the horizon.