nursing home worker using cell phoneCell phones are so common that we often don’t think about them unless there is a specific danger. We know, for example, that cell phone use can cause dangerous distracted driving crashes. However, cell phones are not just dangerous on Kentucky roads. Cell phone use is also a concern in Kentucky nursing homes.

Dangers of Nursing Home Staff Using Cell Phones

Nursing home staff have a duty to provide reasonable care for nursing home residents. When nursing home staff members fail to exercise reasonable care, and a nursing home resident is hurt because of that failure, it may be a case of nursing home negligence.

Cell phone use by nursing home staff presents at least two serious risks for nursing home residents, including:

Distraction

Cell phones can take a nursing home staff member’s attention away from residents. Distracted staff members may:

  • Fail to recognize symptoms of illness or distress in a nursing home resident
  • Over-medicate or under-medicate a nursing home resident
  • Fail to ensure that a nursing home resident has proper nutrition and hydration
  • Delay responding to a resident’s request for assistance which could cause a resident to fall
  • Confuse patients and provide the wrong treatment, food, or assistance to a resident
  • Forget to mark something significant in a resident’s chart
  • Not clean the cell phone and inadvertently expose a resident to dangerous bacteria and germs

Just one of these mistakes can cause a serious injury for a nursing home resident.

Invasion of Privacy

Cell phone pictures and video recordings of nursing home residents that are taken without permission are an invasion of residents’ privacy. Significant emotional harm can occur if the pictures or videos are posted on social media or shared through email or text, whether or not the photo or video depicts actual neglect or abuse.

The result is often the same, whether a nursing home staff member intended to embarrass a resident or simply wasn’t thinking about the outcome of their actions. At a minimum, posting pictures or videos of nursing home residents on social media without permission is a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and sometimes it is a crime.

How to Get Evidence of Cell Phone Use in a Nursing Home Injury Case

If your loved one was hurt by a staff member’s cell phone use, you need evidence to prove your case. Useful evidence may include, but is not limited to:

  • Cell phone records. Cell phone records can indicate when an individual was on the phone and how the phone was used.
  • Nursing home policies. Nursing homes should have policies about how, where, and when staff members can use cell phones while they are working.
  • Nursing home training information. All nursing home workers, including nurses, food service workers, assistants, custodians, and others, should be trained on HIPAA rules, specific nursing home policies about cell phone use, and other best practices to avoid cell phone-related nursing home injuries.
  • Screenshots and social media records. If you believe that your loved one’s privacy was compromised online, screenshots and social media histories can be useful.
  • Witness testimony. Other people may have witnessed the nursing home staff member’s distraction or inappropriate phone use, and they may testify about it.

An experienced lawyer can use legal discovery methods such as written interrogatories, depositions, and requests for production of documents to get the necessary evidence for your loved one’s potential lawsuit.

Did the Nursing Home Do Enough to Prevent Abuse or Neglect?

Nursing homes have a responsibility to prevent abuse or neglect. If the nursing home was negligent in preventing your loved one’s injury, we encourage you to contact our experienced Louisville nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers today for a free and confidential consultation.

Please call us, start a live chat with us, or fill out our contact form any time—24/7/365—to learn more about your loved one’s rights and possible legal recovery.

Matthew L. White
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Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law

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