Documenting signs of nursing home abuse or neglect

When a loved one is placed in the care of a nursing home, we expect that they will be treated well and with dignity. After all, the facility is being paid to provide a standard level of care to patients and residents, so family members have the right to expect that standard will be met.

Unfortunately, for too many people in Kentucky, that standard is not met and a patient is neglected or mistreated by other residents or employees at the facility. If you suspect that your loved one is the victim of neglect or abuse in a nursing home, it will be up to you to take action to protect that person. In order to do this, you will want to start documenting any signs of mistreatment.

The Kentucky Attorney General provides this document with some good suggestions on how to keep track of things like bruising, behavior changes, bedsores, hygiene problems, infections and overmedication, all of which are signs of abuse and neglect. 

To keep track of troubling incidents, it is recommended that you:

  • Keep a journal detailing your loved one's mental state and behaviors
  • Take pictures of injuries
  • Keep a list of problems you witness, along with detailed descriptions of when they occurred and who was notified
  • File a report with the hospital and agencies like Adult Protective Services to ensure your concerns are vocalized and recorded
  • Ask for help from other residents and employees who can keep an eye out for potential problems.
  • Regularly review the care plan to ensure your loved one's needs are continuing to be met

Taking these steps can help you document instances of suspected abuse, which can be of enormous value should you pursue legal action. Without photos, documentation and other pieces of evidence, these cases can come down to one person's word against another's.

It would also be wise to discuss your concerns with an attorney as soon as possible. With legal guidance and evidence of abuse or neglect, you can hold a facility accountable for damages it has caused.

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