Illinois nursing home neglect and abuse lawyers monitor social networking’s impact on elder-abuse cases

Family members of nursing home neglect and abuse victims are seeking solace from one another through online social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter , YouTube and MySpace.

The Illinois nursing home neglect and abuse lawyers at Abels & Annes continue to monitor the impact of social networking sites on personal injury and wrongful death cases, both in the Chicago area and across the country.

While these virtual support groups no doubt provide emotional support for victims’ families, there is also a cautionary note: Information posted on sites like Facebook and MySpace is increasingly finding its way into a courtroom. If you are involved in a case, it is generally not a good idea to discuss it online. A good rule of thumb is to never post anything online that you would be uncomfortable answering for in a courtroom.

That said, such virtual support groups are providing meaningful relief for families dealing with the neglect or abuse of a loved one who was entrusted to a professional nursing home or elder care facility.

The Minnesota Albert Lea Tribune published a story this weekend about social networking’s impact on a horrific nursing home abuse case in which several teenage girls are accused of sexually abusing and humiliating Alzheimer’s patients in the Good Samaritan Society nursing home.

The families of the alleged abuse victims have formed under a group called Families Against Nursing Home Abuse, opening pages on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. They also have videos on YouTube. One writes a blog.

At these sites, people can read reactions to elder abuse and get to know the alleged victims of abuse in words and photos.

Jan Reshetar, co-founder of the group, said she and the others decided to branch out to these Internet sources to enact changes on the local, state and national level.

“We’re trying to get the community involved,” Reshetar told the newspaper. “We’re trying to get the attention of our local people.”

Then, hopefully, once people get involved, they will call their state and national representatives and senators and voice their concerns.

At her blog, Reshatar wrote: “It’s been over one year since we first got the phone call that Mom ‘may or may not, be a victim of what may or may not be abuse.’ It’s been over 12 months … over 365 days … over 8,760 hours … over 525,600 minutes … over a lifetime ago.”

The Facebook page can be found at Facebook.com
The Twitter, MySpace and YouTube pages can be found by doing a search. In most cases people have to be a member of the Web site to access them.

Nursing homes — more than half of which are for-profit companies operated by large chains–have a duty to protect residents and to make sure employees are not abusing or neglecting the residents left in their care.

If you suspect an Illinois nursing home of neglect or abuse, the Chicago nursing home neglect and abuse lawyers at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your case. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.