It is almost inconceivable that elderly nursing home residents can suffer from malnutrition in the nursing home. However, the journal Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care found that nearly 20% of nursing home residents experience malnutrition in some form.
If you believe your loved one has suffered injuries due to malnutrition from nursing home neglect, you could potentially hold the nursing home to account and receive compensation. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to learn about your legal options with a free case evaluation with a New York City malnutrition lawyer team member.
Signs of Malnutrition
When we make the decision to move our loved ones into a nursing home, we do so with the hope that they will be cared for around the clock. Finding out that your loved one does not receive adequate nutrition at their nursing home can come as a shock.
If you suspect that your relative is suffering from malnutrition in a long-term care facility, acting quickly is important to stop any further deterioration in health. If you have noticed recent weight loss that seems unrelated to a medical condition, pay close attention to the demeanor of your loved one and whether they show any other signs. Other symptoms can present with malnutrition, including:
- Tiredness and irritability
- Feeling cold frequently
- Delayed wound healing
- Loss of fat and muscle mass
- Frequent infections
- Difficulty concentrating
Malnutrition can be due to undernutrition, which occurs when a resident is not eating enough food to sustain them. Malnutrition can also occur when a resident is not getting the right amount of nutrients. This can happen when a resident eats an adequate amount of food, but the food offered has low nutritional quality and lacks appropriate vitamins and minerals.
Malnutrition in Nursing Homes
Malnutrition can have extremely detrimental effects on an elderly person’s health, and can lead to death in severe cases. Malnutrition can also be easily avoided in nursing homes, especially in cases when there is no medical condition that would make eating difficult for a resident.
Why Malnutrition Happens in Nursing Homes
The elderly, especially those with cognitive impairments or limited mobility, often need reminding, as well as assistance with daily tasks such as eating and drinking. If a nursing home is short-staffed, assistance with daily tasks can fall by the wayside and lead to residents potentially missing meals and drinks, resulting in malnutrition and dehydration.
Malnutrition can also occur due to medical problems. Difficulty with swallowing or a dental problem can leave a resident unable to eat enough for adequate nourishment. Some medications can interfere with nutrient absorption, making it difficult for an elderly person to meet their nutritional needs, even though they may be eating normally. In some cases, a resident may refuse food because what is available may be unfamiliar or unappetizing.
Whatever the reason, the nursing home is ultimately responsible for ensuring all residents receive adequate nutrition. Nursing home staff should screen residents, notice any weight loss or other signs of malnutrition, and attempt to remedy this quickly. If a medical problem is to blame, the nursing home staff should report this to the elderly person’s family and primary physician.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you gather the evidence to build a case against a nursing home. Call our team today for a free case evaluation to help you weigh your options.
For a free legal consultation with a New York City Malnutrition Lawyer serving New York City, call (800) 794-0444
Nursing Home Responsibility
A nursing home is required to monitor your loved one and notice any changes in their health or condition. If your relative suffers from malnutrition and the nursing home staff fails to address this in a timely manner, they could be found negligent. Malnutrition and weight loss can also be signs of a serious medical condition. Simply ignoring or failing to notice a resident’s deterioration can be negligence.
New York nursing homes must provide assistance with eating, as well as supply any devices or utensils facilitating nutrition, if required. They are also mandated to offer substitute menus at a nursing home resident’s request, whether for religious or other reasons.
Nursing homes need to ensure they are adequately staffed and caregivers have the necessary qualifications. When a home has too few staff, residents’ needs go neglected, and there may not be enough caregivers to help with basic tasks such as eating, drinking, and personal hygiene.
Neglecting elderly residents this way is not only unacceptable and immoral, but it may also break the law. The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 protects the rights of each resident, and specifically mentions that daily nutritional needs and special dietary needs of each resident have to be met by a facility.
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Your Next Best Steps
If you plan to hold a nursing home to account, do not delay. In general, New York state’s statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is three years from the date on which the injury occurred. If you miss this deadline, you may not be able to file your case.
Acting quickly can also help get compensation for medical bills and your loved one’s suffering in a timely manner, which could help you and your family recover faster.
Help is available, and you do not have to take this on by yourself. It can be challenging to interpret nursing home law, and the nursing home will fight any claims with the help of attorneys.
If you are thinking of filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, just showing that your loved one suffered from malnutrition or weight loss may not be enough. You will have to present evidence that clearly shows nursing home neglect and proves this neglect caused your loved one’s injuries and damages.
A New York City malnutrition lawyer can help you gather the evidence needed to build a case against a nursing home. Call the New York City malnutrition lawyer team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free case evaluation to help you weigh your options.