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2 Nursing Home Workers Allegedly Use Snapchat as Part of Elderly Abuse

Aug 21, 2015

Nursing home employees allegedly abused elderly residents at a facility in Lowell, Massachusetts and shared videos of the abuse using Snapchat, NECN reports. The two nursing home aides were 23-year-old Sabrina Costa and 22-year-old Kala Shaniece Lopez, who worked at Wingate at Belvidere Nursing Home. According to NECN, police were called to the nursing home on July 31st after relatives said the aides shared inappropriate videos of the residents.

A patient is questioned about sex and marijuana in one of the videos, prosecutors say. The other video shows one of the aides yelling at a patient while she was asleep, scaring her awake. Lopez said to police "it's just a joke" and that the aides "just wanted some laughs." according to NECN. Court documents also indicate that administrators were informed about the videos through one of Lopez's friends. The tipster said that these videos were not the first, but they were the most disturbing.

The aides were arraigned Tuesday in Lowell District Court. Lopez was charged with permitting abuse on an elderly or disabled person. Costa was charged with assault and battery on an elderly or disabled person and permitting abuse on an elderly or disabled person. They are slated to appear in court on Sept. 22 and were released under the condition that they have no contact with the victims and do not work with the elderly in a health care setting.

The nursing home released a statement, part of which reads: “On July 29, 2015, it was reported to Wingate at Belvidere management that two individual employees used a cell phone to video residents and shared the videos with some of their contacts. Management immediately started an investigation, which included the suspension of the employees alleged to be involved. The investigation revealed that the employees violated Wingate at Belvidere’s strict policies concerning patient safety and privacy of three residents and as a result, these individuals were terminated. We were able to confirm that no private health information, such as names or clinical information was captured on the videos."

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