We have a disagreement with taking photos at our facility. Currently we take pictures of open wounds only. Do other facilities take pictures of more, like bruises?

There is a whole open can of worms concerning photos, with some corporations wanting photos of everything, and some forbidding photos. 

The most important thing is to be sure you follow the policies of your facility or corporation. Do not go against these policies, and if you have questions or concerns, please be sure to check with your boss.

Many corporations and facilities take pictures of bruises if they are significant and appear on the face, neck or breast, or the bruises are large, have particular shapes or fingerprints, or no one knows how they occurred. Any bruise that looks unusual or needs to be investigated to rule out abuse should be photographed.

There are also programs out there that many facilities use that require assessments, with or without photos. You need to pay attention to what is required with these programs, too.

You also must be consistent. If day shift is taking pictures of all wounds and bruises and that is the policy, then all three shifts need to be doing the same thing. The easiest way to send inspectors on a hunt is inconsistency. 

Some quick audits will help you check for pictures and notes to ensure everyone is documenting the same. Be sure that any wounds or bruises are also discussed at your stand-up meetings. Don’t let these fall between the cracks, as I can assure you the first day you don’t discuss such an issue, there will be a significant change with no follow up note or proper documentation.

I repeat: be consistent and follow your formal policies.

Please send your resident care-related questions to Sherrie Dornberger at [email protected]