Monday, July 27, 2015

Social Media Consents in the ICF/IID

Most ICF/IID programs have a huge pile of "Consents" that must be signed each year, and one of those consents usually deals exclusively with newspaper or news postings.  You basically seek consent to allow the individual's picture to appear in the newspaper or on a news show.  This happens when individuals participate in Special Olympics, attend special events in their towns, or perform some sort of community work as a group or as individuals.  Sometimes the individual ends ups in the spotlight because he or she has worked in the community and the news source wants to show how people with disabilities can work.   Whatever the case may be, you likely have a consent that covers basic news coverage, but do you have one that covers the new arena of "Social Media"?

Social Media is a new and rapidly growing area that may or may not replace our newspapers and magazines in the future.  Most people have seen social media, even if they do not recognize it.   Social Media can come in many formats.  It can be movies or clips, articles or webpages, tweets on Twitter, or postings on Facebook.  There are too many outlets for social media to list them all here, but something as simple as your companies webpage could be considered a form of social media.  Below is a list of links for social media that this author has been involved in during the past year:

Four States News:
A facility website:

Anyone of the above outlets could (and some do) result in the people you serve in your ICF/IID program being featured.  Maybe they end up featured in pictures, or maybe in a full printed article.  Whatever the case may be, you have to ask yourself, because you know the surveyors will at some point, do you have consent to share the person's information or picture on social media?

In some cases, people believe that because they have a consent to share information with the news or newspaper, that the consent should also cover social media, or digital media.  While that might be true from a legal point-of-view (note: I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice only my opinion as a QIDP) I would personally doubt that the family and the individual completely understands the social media concepts.

I would suggest that all facilities consider two things:

First, consider the need for a social media policy.  How will you deal when one of your staff post pictures on Twitter of the local dance with the people from your facility?  How will the facility deal with a news station having a YouTube page where they post news stories?  How will you develop your own website with pictures of the individuals?  There is a lot of questions that need to be addressed in a policy.

Second, make a consent.  Ensure that your consent notes not only newspapers and local media, but also social media.  While you can give some examples of social media there is no way you can give all of them, or cover all the new ones that may develop.  I would write something like this "gives permission to appear on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, YouTube and other social media outlets that may be used for positive promotions or to spotlight individual accomplishments or events."

In closing keep in mind that you can never go wrong by obtaining consent from the Individual, the IDTeam, or the Individual's guardian or Surrogate Decision Maker (Texas).  Also keep in mind is that I am not a lawyer and I am not giving legal advice here - If you are concerned and want to go further with your consent to ensure it is completely legal, then I recommend that you consult a licensed lawyer in your state who deals with consent or guardianship issues.   Just remember that social media is likely going to be around for a long time and sooner or later you will deal with it on some level.

No comments:

Post a Comment