A home health nurse is caring for an elderly man with advanced dementia. The patient has a bruised eye and abdomen and seems withdrawn. The nurse suspects abuse, but the patient is unable to communicate due to his dementia. What should the nurse do next?

Document the physical findings and make note of when they appeared.
Report the suspected abuse to the local authorities.
Report the suspected abuse to the physician.

Explanation

•As a mandatory reporter, the nurse must report the alleged elder abuse within 24 hours.

•The physician should also be notified.

•The nurse should document any physical or behavioral signs of suspected abuse in an impartial manner, as well as the names of visitors and anyone participating in care.

•The patient is unable to report the abuse himself due to his advanced dementia.

•Notifying the family could worsen the situation, because a family member could be the abuser.

•Waiting for proof goes against the nurse's legal obligation.

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