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CNA uses Facebook to violate resident privacy, dignity

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Editor's Note: This article is from 2012. For the most recent content related to social media, click here.

I think it’s time to fire up the social media in senior living discussion again—but for the wrong reasons, of course.

An Oregon nursing assistant who took photos of dying nursing home residents and posted them on Facebook was recently released from an eight-day jail sentence, the Associated Press reported. Nai Mai Chao, 26, was found guilty of invasion of personal privacy, a misdemeanor, and has been ordered to write an apology to a resident that “should be an insightful look at why the defendant did what she did” or be charged with violating her two-year probation, the judge ruled.

Producing those insights may be difficult for Chao, who denied taking the photos but admitted to posting them to Facebook. According to reports, at least one photo shows a resident “expelling a bowel movement,” while other photos show the contents of used bed pans.

Chao’s friends, naturally, populated the photos with deriding and humiliating commentary.

Yes, we are all looking forward to Chao’s insights on her actions. In the meantime, she has been forbidden from working in a caregiving role for children or the elderly—for two years.

You can debate the appropriateness of these punishments, as I’m sure many of you will contest for their brevity. But also take this as an opportunity to consider social media in healthcare, specifically long-term care.

As we have covered here before, social media policies should explain the senior living operator’s expectations for appropriate employee conduct on both company and non-company owned sites, as well as consequences for violating the rules.

While the National Labor Relations Board has warned employers not to institute broad social media policies that would infringe on employee rights protected by federal labor laws, HIPAA must still be respected by everyone.

All of the policy in the world likely would not stop someone from going as heinously rogue as Chao; that type of behavior considers neither rules nor decorum and should be met with zero tolerance on the part of employers. Yet this is a social world, and these modern tools are necessary for effective 21st century marketing and community outreach. Social media can’t be ignored.


Kevin Kolus

Kevin Kolus


Kevin Kolus wrote for Long-Term Living when he was an editor. He left the brand in 2012...



Two years...she can't work as a caregiver for TWO YEARS. I have worked in Long Term Care almost all of my nursing career and I CAN NOT believe she can go back to being a caregiver. What she did was WRONG on so many levels. It says a whole lot about her moral & ethical standards.

One could argue that this person has never been a caregiver!
I'm with "Anonymous," I cannot believe this person would EVER be permitted to go back to being a "caregiver." Why is she on probation in the first place? Should that have prohibited her from working in elder care? Clearly, somebody dropped the ball, somewhere. This kind of depravity doesn't just manifest overnight.

I find it UNBELIEVABLE that she would EVER be allowed to care for the elderly , child or anyone for that matter! I have been a N.A for 24 years, and even if it wasn't against the law I would NEVER do something like that. She got caught at this crime... what has she done that no one knows about? She obviously doesn't care for the people she is suppose to be caring for. Lets just say...she made a terrible mi-stake, even giving her that...she should never be allowed to be in a care giving job! Some of the elderly in nursing homes are completely defenseless and they and their family's have the right to be able to trust and depend on the people working in the home to be of good character... Would anyone out there including the judge who only gave her a 2 year probation from care-giving want her in 2 years to take care of there loved one?????

I just can't beleive it. What is 2 years? We are the advocates for our residents and families and this to me is just flat out abuse! What is wrong with that judge? Maybe this Chao can take care of him in two years!

I have worked in health care over 30 years and never in my life have come across anything so ludicrous!!!!!!!

I think the judge is saying that it's okay to take these nasty pictures and if you get caught, I will slap your hands and thats it. What a loser.