Two nursing home employees have been fired for allegedly taking a Snapchat video mocking an elderly woman at the facility and posting it online (video below).
Two licensed care providers at LifeHouse Vista Healthcare Center in Vista, California, have been terminated after taking a video of themselves laughing at the woman as she gets ready to take a shower and posting it on Snapchat, KGTV reports.
The video first surfaced in October when an anonymous tipster took a screenshot and shared it with investigative reporters at KGTV. The news staff then brought it to the attention of the director of the LifeHouse facility where the video was reportedly filmed.
The screenshot depicts two female employees standing behind a partially nude elderly woman, shown from the shoulders up, and laughing at her as she prepares to get into the shower. The patient, who has been identified only as "Mary," reportedly suffers from dementia.
"The conversation was we're going to get the client ready for the shower and she hates taking showers and they started laughing," the tipster who found the video told KGTV.
One of the employees in the picture reportedly shot the footage on her cellphone and posted it online. Because videos shared on Snapchat disappear within 24 hours, the footage is no longer available online.
After the LifeHouse director confronted the employee who posted the video, she admitted to helping the woman take a shower but denied taking any videos or pictures of the patient.
The employee, who had worked at the facility for a year, reportedly deleted her Snapchat account immediately after being questioned about the incident.
The two workers depicted in the video were initially suspended pending an internal investigation by the nursing home, according to another KGTV article.
Both of them have since been fired, an attorney for LifeHouse confirmed to KGTV in an email on Dec. 8.
The California Certified Nursing Assistant board has also revoked the license of one of the caretakers and suspended that of the other for 30 days.
Both the state's Department of Health and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department are conducting their own investigations into the incident, which has been reported as possible elder abuse and a computer crime.
The patient involved is reportedly still at the home.
The Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services database gave LifeHouse Vista Healthcare Center a below-average rating of 2 stars out of 5. The total number of health deficiencies found at the facility is listed at 19, while the average for all facilities in California is 10.5.
The nursing home also came under fire in 2014 after a resident was allegedly hit and killed by a food cart. The deceased patient's family has since won a wrongful death lawsuit against the facility over the incident.
LifeHouse reportedly appealed the verdict, but the case was settled out of court before a decision was made on the appeal.