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Digital abuse happening in Milwaukee nursing homes

Posted at 6:26 AM, Apr 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-18 08:21:11-04

Caregivers are snapping pictures of elderly patients alongside a degrading caption and uploading them online without their permission.

It’s an act classified as abuse, and it’s becoming common in our tech-savvy world.

TODAY’S TMJ4’s records request revealed it’s been happening in recent years at nursing homes in Milwaukee County.

Attorney Nicole Zimmer, director of the Elder Rights Project, considers it a form of emotional abuse.

“In Wisconsin, emotional abuse means language or behavior,” Zimmer said.

If caught, Zimmer explains, the consequences are serious.

According to a case summary provided by the state, in 2017, Alexis Collum, working at Luther Manor, received probation after she "took and posted pictures of residents to Snapchat."

Moriah Goodlette, working at Milwaukee Catholic Home, "admitted to making a video of a resident and posting it on social media."

Court documents reveal she also received probation for the crime. Her case was considered a felony.

TODAY’S TMJ4 asked Zimmer if this type of abuse is happening often at nursing homes.

“In Wisconsin, emotional abuse means language or behavior.” — attorney Nicole Zimmer, director of the Elder Rights Project

“I imagine that it is. For all of the cases that are actually reported, there are probably 10 to 20 cases that go unreported,” Zimmer said.

To report elder abuse, click here.

TODAY’S TMJ4 reached out to Luther Manor and Milwaukee Catholic Home for this story. A human resources representative at Luther Manor said Collum’s name was not located in its system. Milwaukee Catholic responded, saying Goodlette never worked for them.