Care assistant posts image of vulnerable woman on social media

A care assistant took a photograph of an elderly woman lying asleep and semi-naked and posted it on social media.

The distressing image was put on the Snapchat app, which allows people to send pictures to each other over their mobile phones.

It shows the woman lying on her side with her knees curled up towards her chest and her nightdress around her waist.

One recipient reported the image to the Visiter and to Community Care Direct (CCD) the employers of the 18-year-old girl involved – who is thought to have only been an employee for a few weeks since leaving college.

The image received by the Visiter carried a mocking and insulting caption – although the care company believes this was doctored after being posted on the app.

Southport-based CCD, who provide in-home care said the business had taken the issue very seriously, acting instantly within its disciplinary procedures.

CCD manager Darren Ritson said: “I was first made aware of the incident at 1.30pm on Friday November 15. The member of staff involved was dealt with in the firmest manner.

“She has received a final written warning, and is to receive additional training and will not be allowed to work alone for a period of 26 weeks.

“At the same time she will be receiving extra supervision. At no point was the service user placed at any risk, however we have informed Sefton Council’s social services department and the staff member will not be working while this matter is being looked into.

“We have spoken to the service user who is happy with the measures we have taken. All our staff are made aware of our protocol over social media misuse.”

CCD said that they did not want to wreck her future career before it had started by dismissing her.

A spokesman for Sefton Council said: “ As soon as it came to light, a safeguarding strategy meeting took place with key partners including the council and the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Merseyside Police were also informed.

“Measures were immediately taken to identify the service user involved and to ensure this person was not at risk. We are involved in ongoing discussions with the CQC and the company about this incident.”

Keith Lowe CQC Head of Regional Compliance for the North West, added: “We are liaising closely with Sefton Council and the provider to ensure the matter is investigated thoroughly and that people receiving care from the agency are not at any risk of harm.”

The Visiter understands that the girl involved is sorry and has been left devastated by her actions.