When family members get older, it can become difficult to care for them on your own, especially if they have chronic medical conditions or need around-the-clock assistance. Families often struggle to find a nursing home they trust to care for their loved ones. Finding out that the facility they chose allowed their abuse or neglect can be a devastating experience.
Texas facilities do not have the best track record when it comes to nursing home care. According to 2020 data from ProPublica, Texas had 276 homes with serious deficiencies and nearly 1,000 with infection-related deficiencies, including 37 facilities in Dallas. These violations incurred a total of $15.9 million in fines.
Despite laws that prohibit nursing home abuse, it occurs far too frequently—often behind closed doors. It can occur for some time before families are even aware of it. Food deprivation is just one form of nursing home abuse. If you suspect that your elderly loved one experienced abuse or neglect in their nursing home, a Dallas malnutrition lawyer can help you seek financial compensation. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 842-6336 for a free consultation.
Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes
Families may find nursing home abuse—which often leaves obvious marks or scars—easier to recognize than neglect. Because it usually does not immediately result in physical indicators, nursing home staff may continue to neglect residents for an extended length of time. The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care defines neglect as “the failure to care for a person in a manner which would avoid harm and pain, or the failure to react to a situation which may be harmful.”
Neglect can occur intentionally or because of facility failures such as lack of training or understaffing. Examples of nursing home neglect include:
- Incorrect positioning of immobile patients
- Lack of assistance with bathing, using the toilet, and other basic needs
- Lack of social interaction
- Ignoring calls for help
- Lack of assistance with eating or drinking
Over time, neglect can lead to serious safety and health concerns.
The Effects of Malnutrition on the Elderly
According to a study published in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, approximately 20% of nursing home residents suffer from malnutrition. Malnutrition can have negative health consequences on individuals of any age, but nursing home residents may experience more serious effects due to their advanced age and pre-existing medical conditions.
These negative consequences may include:
- A weakened immune system, which can make an elderly person more susceptible to illness
- Slower wound healing, which can increase the risk of infection
- Weakened muscles and bones, which can increase the risk of falls
- Greater chance of hospitalization or death
If you suspect that your loved one suffered malnutrition due to a nursing home staff’s failure to provide enough nutritious food, a Dallas malnutrition lawyer with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help. To learn more and discuss your legal options, contact us today for a free case evaluation.
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Signs of Malnutrition
Malnutrition looks different for every individual, so families often have trouble spotting the condition in their loved ones until it has occurred for a long period of time. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) explains that while malnourished elderly people may look frail and thin or feel hungry all the time, not all fit this description.
Malnutrition does not always mean that someone feels hungry. Hunger occurs due to a lack of food, while malnutrition is caused by not receiving enough nutrition to maintain health. People of all ages and sizes experience malnutrition. It can occur for many reasons, including:
- Trouble chewing or swallowing
- Poor appetite
According to Medical News Today, signs of malnutrition in your loved one may include:
- Feeling cold
- Weight loss
- Increased bouts of illness
- Increased healing time
Nursing homes have an obligation to provide all residents with balanced meals and ensure that they receive the assistance they need to eat and drink. If they fail to do so, malnutrition can occur, which can lead to serious health problems and even death. If your loved one did not receive adequate nutrition in a nursing home facility, a Dallas malnutrition lawyer can help you seek compensation.
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The Right to Receive Quality Care
In 1987, the United States Congress passed the Nursing Home Reform Act in response to a wave of concerns about inadequate care in nursing homes across the country. According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), this federal legislation gives nursing home residents:
- Freedom from all types of mistreatment
- The right to privacy and autonomy
- Accommodation of all physical, emotional, mental, and social needs
- The right to receive treatment with dignity and respect
- The right to communicate freely without fear of retribution
- The right to participate in one’s own care plan
If your elderly loved one did not receive quality care at a Dallas nursing home and suffered malnutrition as a result, a Dallas malnutrition lawyer can evaluate your damages and seek financial compensation on their behalf.
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Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Can Help
When you learn that nursing home staff neglected your loved one, you may feel intimidated by the process of pursuing legal action. While you can file a claim against the liable party on your own, a lawyer can relieve some of your burden by:
- Investigating your nursing home abuse claim
- Gathering evidence to prove the facility’s negligence
- Assessing your damages
- Negotiating for a fair settlement amount on your behalf
- If necessary, going to trial to fight for adequate compensation
A Dallas malnutrition lawyer can provide you with legal support through every step of the process and address any questions or concerns you have along the way. Let Pintas & Mullins Law Firm help you hold the nursing home accountable for the harm they caused. Contact us today at (800) 842-6336 for a free case review with a member of our team.