Caregiver Misconduct – Use of Handheld Devices and Social Media

Cell phone with red triangle/exclamation point while taking photoThe Office of Caregiver Quality (OCQ), within the Division of Quality Assurance (DQA) has primary responsibility for receiving, screening and investigating allegations of caregiver misconduct in the Department of Health Services (DHS) regulated health care facilities. Since 2009, OCQ has seen an increase in the number of caregiver misconduct issues related to the use of wireless handheld devices in the workplace. In the past five years, 95 cases related to the use of handheld devices have been reported. OCQ has substantiated numerous instances of caregiver misconduct related to these reports.


Examples of potential caregiver misconduct or violation of resident rights via handheld devices:

  • Posting a photo or video to Facebook that includes personal and identifying characteristics of a resident.
  • Sending or posting a photo on Snapchat or Instagram that includes any parts of a resident’s body.
  • Having an image or video of a resident on your Snapchat storage or on your camera storage without the resident’s written consent or knowledge.
  • Taking a video or photo on your phone of another employee mistreating or degrading a resident and not reporting it to your direct supervisor.


In an effort to improve awareness regarding resident rights and caregiver misconduct in Wisconsin nursing homes, OCQ proposed a social media awareness project and received a grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to implement an awareness campaign targeted at preventing the misuse of handheld devices by caregivers.

The following resources have been developed for use by facilities to raise awareness among staff in order to prevent occurrences of caregiver misconduct through the use of handheld devices:

  • Social Media Awareness Poster – Snapping Pics Puts Your Job at Risk, P-01964 (PDF) – DHS recommends facilities place this poster in a location that is designated for employees only, such as an employee break room.
  • Social Media Awareness – Snapping Pics Puts Your Job at Risk, P-01933 (PDF) – DHS recommends facilities distribute this brochure to new and existing employees (e.g., upon new employee hire, during annual refresher trainings on abuse/neglect).
  • Snapping Pics Puts Your Job At Risk (Livestream, help) –This video depicts a scenario of a caregiver who is contemplating taking a picture of a peacefully sleeping resident to share with her co-worker. It highlights the potential consequences of this action, including being suspended from her job and being placed on the Caregiver Misconduct Registry.
  • Animated Infographic (Livestream, help) –This two minute informational video highlights what happens when a possible incident of caregiver misconduct occurs. DHS recommends this video be used as a follow up to the Snapping Pics Puts Your Job At Risk video.
Last Revised: February 14, 2020