A viral photo of an elderly woman face-down in her pillow led to an inquiry at an Ohio nursing home, drawing attention to nursing home neglect nationwide.
Local pastor Julia Wiggins posted a photo to Facebook last month showing 80-year-old nursing home resident Esther Brown slumped in her wheelchair at a desk with her face in a pillow.
According to the post, which has been shared approximately than 156,000 times since it was posted Feb. 19, Wiggins and Brown’s son, James, found her “face down into a soft pillow gasping for breath and strangling on her own saliva.”
James Brown has filed a complaint with the facility, Cleveland 19 News reported. The nursing home, Altercare Nobles Pond in Canton, Ohio, was informed of a family complaint on Feb. 15, according to Cleveland 19 News.
“The resident is in no distress and remains well cared for by the Altercare Nobles Pond team; she is comfortable and safe,” the statement read. “Our team remains committed to providing compassionate, professional care to all residents.”
The Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Aging also looked into the incident, however on March 1, The Canton Repository reported that state officials had determined “no licensure violations were cited in regards to the allegations” and the nursing home is “in compliance with the provisions” for such care facilities.
Wiggins’ post highlights how social media can be used to raise awareness of elder abuse in elder care facilities. A 2016 opinion piece by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley noted that “social media empowers family members to keep in touch with loved ones and allow caregivers to record and expose wrongdoing that otherwise may have gone undetected.”