Nursing home staff members were accused of violating a resident’s privacy by posting degrading photographs and videos on social media. Jane Bosquet, a 76 year old woman suffering from dementia and Parkinson’s disease and resident of Wingate Belvedere in Lowell, Massachusetts had “unflattering” photographs of her taken and posted on Snapchat by two nurses’ aides. Sabrina Costa and Kala Lopez violated the rights of several vulnerable elderly women, all of whom are suffering from dementia. Costa and Lopez apologized to their victims’ families in court last month as they pled guilty to elder abuse; however their words reportedly did little to comfort the families. Jay Bosquet, son of Jane, stated the aids abused their responsibilities and trust they were given. Jay Bosquet remembers his mother as vibrant and funny, but she has not been the same since the incident. He is heartbroken by what happened to his mother.
Fox25 investigators found that this is not the only incident of elder abuse via social media; four similar incidents were cited in the area within the last year. Federal action is being sought against healthcare workers who violate the privacy of the elderly on social media. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa wrote a letter to the attorney general demanding a federal investigation of these incidents and that nursing home employees being held accountable for their actions; he also reached out to Medicare and Medicaid to see if more can be done during inspections. The federal government does have a stake in this matter, they have to protect taxpayer dollars and ensure the rules that go along with receiving federal funding are being adhered to.
Fox25 asked Wingate if any changes were made to their policy since the incident. Wingate’s attorney indicated that cell phone use has since been banned for all employees. Costa and Lopez each faced three counts of Permitting Abuse on an Elder or Disabled Person. Costa was also charged with Assault and Battery on Someone over 60 or Disabled. Costa and Lopez were ordered to stay away from the victims and not to work with the elderly in a healthcare facility; they were sentenced to three years of probation.