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Using social media the right way to avoid nursing home abuse

It can be fun to use social media to share your life with others. It's important, though, to realize that what you share isn't always legal or allowed. For instance, if you are working at a nursing home and want to share a picture of a resident, it's not legal to post a picture of the resident without permission.

If a nursing home wants to share information about your loved one, it needs to speak with your loved one or you directly, depending on who has the right to decide. For instance, if your loved one has dementia or Alzheimer's disease, it may not be appropriate for the nursing home to ask for his or her approval to be on social media. The nursing home should provide a written release that you can sign, or refuse, at your discretion.

If a nursing home posts pictures of your loved one without permission or shares inappropriate material, you can file a complaint against the nursing home. If it's an individual who works at the nursing home, it's still worth filing a complaint and talking to the nursing home director directly. No one who works at a nursing home should be taking videos or images of residents and posting them online, whether it's for good or bad, without their permission. A nursing home is not a public space, it's a private place where people should be cared for with respect and dignity.

Those who have their rights violated should get a chance to be compensated for their pain and suffering. Your loved one deserves love and respect, not to be ridiculed or to have his or her image shared without permission.

Source: American Health Care Association, "Best Practices for Social Media," accessed March 30, 2018

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