A former nursing assistant has been charged with a felony for taking video of a partially clad resident at the assisted living and memory care community where she worked and then posting it on Snapchat.
Grace Riedlinger, 21, worked at Parkside Manor in Kenosha, WI, when she admitted taking the video of a 93-year-old resident with dementia who was sitting on a bed wearing only a bra. The incident happened Jan. 5 and was reported Jan. 11 by a friend of Riedlinger’s who had seen the video via the app. Riedlinger subsequently was fired from Parkside Manor, a Senior Lifestyle community.
In a written statement, David Richey, senior regional director of operations for Senior Lifestyle Corp., told ProPublica that the company investigated the incident immediately upon learning about it and also notified state regulators and the local police department. “The termination of this employee is consistent with our zero tolerance policy relating to actions contrary our code of conduct,” Richey wrote.
Riedlinger was charged with capturing an image of nudity without consent, a felony that carries jail time of up to 3.5 years. She was released from custody, the “Kenosha News” reports, but will face a $10,000 fine if she returns to Parkside Manor or is found on the premises of any assisted living community or nursing home.
ProPublica has identified 35 instances since 2012 in which assisted living or nursing home workers secretly have shared photos or videos of residents. At least 16 of those cases involved Snapchat.
Editor’s addendum, Jan. 22:
McKnight’s Senior Living received a response to its request for comment from Senior Lifestyle Corp. on Jan. 22. Richey said:
“As soon as we were informed of this alleged incident, we launched a full investigation to better understand what happened so we could take appropriate action. As part of our investigation, we immediately notified the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Bureau of Quality Assurance – Office of Caregiver Quality and conducted an interview with the employee in question.
“During that interview, she admitted she had behaved inappropriately and expressed remorse for her actions. We immediately terminated the employee and notified the Kenosha Police Department so they could investigate the incident further.
“The termination of this employee is consistent with our zero tolerance policy relating to actions contrary our code of conduct. Actions such as this will never be tolerated at our community. Our code of conduct contains very specific guidelines to govern employee behavior and includes policies regarding social networking and the use of technology that the employee in question clearly violated.
“We pride ourselves on the level of care and support we provide our residents and have never experienced an incident such as this. We recognize the actions of this employee are in violation of the sacred trust our residents and their families place in us. We remain committed to maintaining an environment of respect for all members of our community and will continue to provide our residents with the same level of care that we would want our own family members to receive.”