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Date ArticleType
8/16/2016 Regulatory
CMS Issues Guidance on Abuse Related to Social Media

memo released on August 5, 2016 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) states that nursing care centers must review and revise written abuse prevention policies to ensure they specifically prohibit staff from taking or using photographs or recordings that would demean and humiliate residents. The memo also states that alleged violations of this policy must be immediately reported to authorities and investigated internally, and corrective action must be taken to prevent further abuse.

Things your facility will need to do now:

1. Review/Revise Current Abuse Prohibition Policy and Procedures to include Social Media.

2. Review/Revise Social Media Policy and Procedures. Ensure the language is added to your current policies to include:
     • Each resident has the right to be free from all types of abuse, including mental abuse.  Mental abuse includes, but it not limited to, abuse that is facilitated or caused by nursing home staff taking or using photographs or recordings in any manner that would demean or humiliate a resident(s). 
     • Each nursing home must provide care and services in a person-centered environment in which all individuals are treated as human beings.

3. Schedule and document training with all staff to ensure understanding of abuse and the use of social media policy and procedures. 
     • Nursing home staff includes employees, consultants, contractors, volunteers, and other care givers who provide care and services to residents on behalf of the facility.

Facilities can expect surveyors to request their Abuse Prohibition and Social Media Policies during surveys. 

Review and revision the policies mentioned will need to occur within the next 30 days. Please ensure to time stamp the review/revision date.

If you have any questions, please contact Lori Davenport ldavenport@ihca.org