A potential lawsuit in every worker's pockets?

John O'Connor
John O'Connor

Here's a pop quiz: Guess which camera now takes the most photos? If you chose Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus or Sony, try again.

Now to be fair, it's a bit of a trick question. So here's a hint: There's a good chance the winner is in your hands right now. That's right, it's the trusty iPhone.

And as any user of an iPhone camera can tell you, it's not too hard to see why these devices are so amazingly popular. Thanks to iPhones, taking quick, clear photos has never been easier.

These devices also happen to record remarkably good videos. They have other benefits as well. Some people even go so far as to use them as telephones.

Small wonder Apple expects to sell more than 50 million in the first three months of 2016 alone.

Ease of use is certainly great for the millions of people who snap off iPhone photos and record videos each day. But that benefit may not be such wonderful news for your facility.

For on the flip side, it has never been easier for employees or families to snap off photos and videos that can embarrass the heck out of your residents.

Case in point: A woman who formerly worked in a Wisconsin nursing home has been charged with a felony after allegedly posting a video of a resident to Snapchat.

The 21-year-old reportedly posted a video of the 93-year-old resident wearing only a bra. The videographer who now finds herself in need of legal representation was apparently playing “tug of war” with the woman, and decided to share the hilarity with her Snapchat friends.

The worker probably thought the video would be a hoot. I'm guessing the resident and her family did not.

But here's the thing: Recording the incident was not in all likelihood a nefarious, premeditated action. Rather, the decision to shoot and post was probably made with little or no forethought. More than likely, it was sort of snap decision that gets made every day by millions of other people who are taking and posting images for their friends to peruse.

The pop quiz continues:

• Do most of your employees have phones that can take photos and record videos?

• Do many if not most of them have social network friends they like to share things with?

• Do they have ample opportunity to take photos or videos of your residents in, shall we say, compromising positions?

If you answered “yes” to all three, you are in good company. But that may be of little consolation.

For angry family members are not going to seek out the young, inexperienced and judgment-impaired members of your staff when something goofy goes viral. They are going to come after you.

And short of a company policy that prohibits employees from using phones with recording technology, there is probably not a whole lot you can do about it. Besides, who wants to give up their iPhone?

John O'Connor is McKnight's Editorial Director.

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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Emily Mongan.

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