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Senior Care Insight
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Should Smart Phones Be Banned?


Several years ago, I read a story about some healthcare workers in the northeast taking inappropriate pictures of elderly residents in compromised positions, and sharing them with other workers.  They were caught and had their licenses permanently revoked, but no criminal charges were filed.  After reading about this, I immediately added the question “do you allow staff to use cell phones in the building?” to our audit tool. 

Most senior care communities do allow them in the building, but are limited to use during break-times only, and are not allowed on the floor or in resident care areas.  Sometimes staff in management positions use them on the floor for communication purposes.  This all sounds very reasonable… however, the opportunity for abuse is always present.

Unfortunately, even the very best place cannot monitor the actions of each and every staff member 24 hours a day.  I believe the vast majority of people good.  However, it’s always the very few that ruin it for the rest of us, forcing changes that are inconvenient, creating new rules and regulations that are cumbersome, and generally making life more difficult for everyone else. 

I recently shared a Consumer Alert about a disturbing news story (see link below) on the July 23, 2016 episode of Senior Care Live.  After reading this, I was livid!  How could these people do this?  It is beyond comprehension… thank goodness that in some of these cases, criminal charges were filed. 

Then, I had a call-to-action for all senior care communities… “no smart phones allowed on the premises”.  Now, I know what you’re thinking… what if staff needs to be contacted?  I thought about this and then remembered, what did we do prior to smart phones?  Yes, that’s right!  We were contacted through the main business phone line.  The receptionist took a message and we used the business phone line to return the call while on our break. 

This old-school tried and true method of communication completely eliminates the opportunity of anyone using their smart phone inappropriately.  It also eliminates the negative exposure for the senior care community and possible costly legal actions against them. 

As I hear of more of these unthinkable incidents, I will increase the volume of my call to action:  NO SMART PHONES ALLOWED ON THE PREMESIS.  Do you agree or disagree?  What are your thoughts?

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