When you place your loved one in a nursing home, it’s important to choose? The right place for them, you trust that he or she will receive proper care and that the nursing home staff will make sure that each resident gets enough to eat and drink. The nursing home has a legal duty to provide quality care and nutrition. But when nursing homes are understaffed, issues involving malnutrition and dehydration can develop quickly, particularly among patients who cannot feed themselves. Residents may develop dental problems, excessive weight loss, and weakened bones as a result of inadequate nutrition and experience a rapid decline in their health.
Malnutrition and dehydration may be forms of nursing home neglect or abuse. The Becker Law Office has stood up for the rights of many families whose loved ones have been neglected or abused in nursing homes. Our attorneys have the experience and resources to help you protect your loved one and hold accountable those who have failed to provide adequate care. Contact us at (502) 333-3333 or online to learn about how our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys can help you during this difficult time.
Issues with Malnutrition in the Elderly
Nursing home residents are at risk of malnutrition if they do not consume enough nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. When inadequate nutrition causes weakness, a nursing home patient is more susceptible to falling and suffering broken bones or a head injury.
Medical problems common among people who are malnourished include:
- Low blood pressure
- Pressure ulcers
- Tooth decay
- Broken bones
- Confusion and impaired cognitive function
- Decreased wound healing
People who are ill or infirm can suffer declines in their health if they become malnourished. It can affect brain health and bone health. Falls are a leading cause of injuries including head injuries and broken hips among older people.
Nursing home residents who become malnourished need prompt medical intervention. The family of the nursing home resident also should consult with an experienced nursing home neglect lawyer.
Issues with Dehydration in The Elderly
Dehydration represents a common issue for nursing home residents. When residents are not drinking enough fluids to replace lost fluids, they will become dehydrated. The condition is particularly dangerous for older adults who may become dehydrated without feeling thirsty. Certain medications may increase the risk of dehydration.
Among the signs of dehydration are:
- Intense thirst
- Dark-colored urine
Nursing home residents who suffer dehydration are at higher risk of health problems including urinary tract infections, constipation, heat stress and bed sores.
Dehydration also may cause restlessness and disrupted sleep patterns.
Consuming more fluids can address mild or moderate dehydration. Severe dehydration requires immediate medical treatment.
You should also seek of the guidance of a nursing home attorney if your loved one has become severely malnourished while in the care of a nursing home or long-term care facility.
Signs of Malnutrition
Malnutrition and dehydration may be caused by inadequate staffing in nursing homes, a lack of personalized care and high turnover rates among nurses? aides. Staff turnover can lead to inconsistent care.
Some nursing homes have reduced staff levels to save money. Staff members do not spend adequate time feeding those residents who cannot feed themselves. As a result, the residents may not receive the necessary attention needed to be sure they get proper nutrition.
Dental problems also can be caused by vitamin deficiencies associated with poor nutrition.
Excessive weight loss is a significant issue among nursing home residents. Weight loss may be an indicator of depression, dental issues or that your loved one is not getting a proper diet and is suffering malnutrition. Some medications may cause nausea, anxiety and loss of appetite, leading to weight loss.
Poor wound healing also can be a sign of malnutrition and certain protein deficiencies. During the healing process, the body needs extra calories, vitamins A and C and protein to heal wounds. Malnutrition can delay healing and make the wound more likely to break down.
Nursing home residents should not be allowed to become malnourished. Even residents who refuse to eat because of depression, Alzheimers disease or other health problems can be given nutritional supplements. Those who become severely malnourished or dehydrated need immediate medical assistance.
When you visit your loved one, you may recognize the effects of malnutrition or dehydration. You should pay attention to changes in how your loved ones clothing fits.
If you have concerns about the quality of care your relative is receiving, address your concerns first to the nursing home administrator or director of nursing. The nursing home should have a procedure for responding to your concerns. If they are not addressed, you may want to follow up in writing, documenting what you observed and the time and date. Keep a copy of the letter.
What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home neglect includes the failure of a nursing home caregiver to provide adequate food or fluids needed by a nursing home resident. In some cases, a caregiver may intentionally deny food or liquids to a nursing home resident as a form of discipline or punishment. That kind of outrageous conduct may represent an act of nursing home abuse and the caregiver should be held accountable.
The nursing home neglect attorneys at the Becker Law Office represent nursing home residents and their families in cases involving nursing home residents harmed by malnutrition and dehydration. Our independent investigation into how your loved one has been treated may reveal neglect or abuse. Legal action can lead to compensation for your loved ones injuries, pain and suffering, and other losses.
Let a knowledgeable nursing home neglect lawyer review the details of your loved ones situation and explain how we may help your family. If your case is the type that we handle, we will work on a contingency fee basis. We are committed to helping you and your family seek justice if a loved one in a nursing home has been a victim of malnutrition or dehydration as a result of neglect or abuse.