Providing proof in abuse cases can be one of the most difficult steps to holding the facility or guilty party liable in a personal injury lawsuit, but it can also be essential. Because of this, documenting the abuse during and after it occurs can be crucial to an investigation made by your nursing home abuse attorney.
What should you look for when you suspect that a loved one has gone through nursing home abuse? What should you document, and how? There are some common signs of nursing home abuse that you can record to help your nursing home abuse attorney build your case. These are:
- Bleeding or bruising
Bruising near genitals
Negative changes in the resident’s behaviors or emotions
Strange financial transactions
Unexplained illnesses or infections
It is important to remember that these signs need to be documented in detail. The more detail you include, the easier it will be to build a case for your loved one. If your loved one displays one or more of these signs, it may be in their best interest to remove them from the environment until an investigation has been conducted into the cause.
How to Document Changes
There are also a few ways in which these effects can be documented. The first is that you and others in your family can observe your loved one’s behavior. Record in writing whether they act differently than they have in the past, especially in regards to the facility they live in or any of the people that work and live around them. A drastic change in behavior can be an indicator that abuse is occurring.
If there is physical evidence such as bodily harm, taking pictures or videos of your loved one’s injuries can be another way to document the abuse. Record the physical marks until they heal, noting the time it takes as well as if any new injuries occur during this time. Physical injuries can be an indicator of physical abuse, or at times can indicate sexual abuse as well. Often physical injuries can be accompanied by mental effects on the elder such as social or emotional withdrawal.
Talk to Witnesses
Talking to witnesses can be a helpful way to glean information about the extent of the abuse, and these witnesses can be a valuable resource if your loved one is incapable of talking about their experience or uncomfortable talking about it. Take notes on what the witnesses say, or record them if they give their permission. If your loved one is comfortable talking about it, interview them as well.
Official documents can help you record possible signs of abuse, especially if the abuse is financial. Financial abuse can be anything from forging the elder’s signature to coercing them to sign documents stating the perpetrator is in charge of their financial assets to stealing money or property from the elder. These signs may show up in bank statements or other legal documents. Keep a record of any transfers or discharges, as mistreatment may occur there as well. Catalog any discrepancies with these documents.