Risk – Healthcare organizations are learning about the many benefits and accompanying risks of social media sites. A Facebook page or other social media source can provide real-time information and resources for families and the community. Social media also provides an opportunity to share the activities and special milestones that seniors are experiencing at your facility. However, inappropriate posts create real risks for seniors, care providers, and facilities.
Risk Management Strategies
Use of Personal Mobile Devices – Develop policy and procedures regarding the use of personal mobile devices while working, including but not limited to: smart phones, cameras, tablets, smart watches, and laptop computers. If allowed, designate where and when the devices may be used (e.g., on breaks). Inform staff that personal information uploaded, downloaded, sent/received, posted, or shared using company equipment or internet (e.g., Wi-Fi) may be discoverable.1 Ensure that staff understand that your abuse policy includes the taking, keeping, or distributing of photographs and recordings of residents that are demeaning or humiliating.2 The policy should warn that violations will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.3 Ask a healthcare attorney to review your policy to ensure compliance with state and federal laws and regulations.
Staff Education and Training – Provide staff orientation and training regarding the expectation to immediately report suspected or confirmed abuse, including taking, keeping, or distributing photographs and recordings of residents that are demeaning or humiliating.4
Resident and Family Education – Provide educational materials to residents and family members during facility tours regarding facility policies on resident rights, including how the facility uses social media. Ask for written confirmation that photographs and recordings will not be taken of other residents or staff without the express permission of the facility. Obtain written informed consent for resident photographs that will be used for publications, websites, or social media posts.