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How to document suspected nursing home abuse

Nursing homes and elder care facilities play an important role in society. After all, the staff at these places steps in to meet the needs of elderly patients. Regardless of how much research you do when choosing a nursing home for your aging mother or father, though, you may not be able to avoid some level of nursing home abuse. 

Unfortunately, nursing home neglect and elder abuse are not uncommon. In fact, roughly 10 percent of Americans over the age of 60 have experienced some type of elder abuse. Even worse, most cases go unreported. If you have a loved one living in a nursing home, you must watch carefully for signs of nursing home abuse. You must also diligently document your findings. 

Recruit a team 

The first step in documenting any incident is to gather some facts. That said, you likely cannot assemble all information by yourself. As such, ask friends and family members to help you watch for elder abuse. 

Start a journal 

You should catalog specific evidence of abuse in a written memorandum. A good way to do this is to start a journal. Every time you see evidence of neglect or mistreatment, record it in writing. Do not forget to memorialize the date of the incident, the staff involved and all other relevant information. 

Snap some photographs 

Your smartphone camera can be an invaluable tool in documenting nursing home abuse. If you notice bed sores, hygiene issues or other problems, take some photographs. Before you do, though, enable your phone’s time stamp feature to better document the abuse. 

Keep copies of pertinent records 

If you file a formal complaint with the nursing home or state regulatory agency, keep comprehensive copies of everything in your filing. Also, request medical and financial records from the nursing home to add to your file. 

Finding a nursing home for your elderly parents is only part of the equation. You also must ensure they receive excellent care in their golden years. By documenting all evidence of neglect and abuse, you better equip yourself to advocate for your elderly parents and stop the mistreatment.

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