Nursing homes have a legal and ethical obligation to ensure that their residents receive the proper nutrition they need to remain as healthy and robust as possible. Nutrition is incredibly important at every age; however, elderly nursing home residents already have much frailer bodies and immune systems. Many have medical conditions that make them even more susceptible to malnutrition and its complications.
Loved ones place their family members in a nursing home to ensure that they receive the proper care, supervision, and assistance that they require. If you believe your elderly loved one suffered from malnutrition in a nursing home, it may be the result of nursing home neglect or abuse. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to learn how a Savannah malnutrition lawyer can uphold your legal rights. Discuss your case with a team member today.
Malnutrition in Nursing Homes
According to the journal Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, up to 66% of all nursing home residents suffered from malnourishment at some point during their stay. One issue with determining the exact number of malnourished residents was a lack of a consistent definition of the condition.
However, the article points to a serious and widespread issue of malnutrition in elderly nursing home residents, which has become a systemic problem throughout the industry. In many cases, nursing homes remain understaffed, with overworked employees who simply cannot always meet residents’ needs and requirements.
As a result, some elderly residents do not receive proper nutrition as outlined in their specific care plan or proper monitoring that would ensure they consume the food provided to them.
Nutritional Menus and Supervision
Specific nutritional therapies remain critical to maintaining the health of elderly nursing home residents with specific chronic diseases or medical conditions. The University of Minnesota published a complete listing of the nutritional guidelines in nursing homes for every state.
However, even with all these legally required mandates and clinical research pointing to the fact that nutrition is a critical part of older adults’ health, many nursing home residents leave 25% or more of their food uneaten due to lack of supervision. Without proper daily nutritional menus accompanied by supervision to ensure that residents consume their food, many elderly residents of nursing homes become malnourished.
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Special Dietary Needs or Medical Conditions
Your elderly loved one may have special dietary needs or medical conditions that require specific nutritional meal plans or dietary restrictions. Some elderly residents cannot eat any food that is not soft or pureed, as they suffer from dysphagia or other swallowing issues. In other cases, elderly residents suffer from neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease or simple idiopathic tremors that make eating difficult. Other residents may have medical conditions such as diabetes or pressure sores that require specific diets to promote stable blood sugar levels or promote healing.
Every resident should receive individual attention and the supervision and care they need to ensure that they receive proper nutrition. All nursing home employees should receive adequate training regarding what nutrition a resident should receive. Staff also should provide residents the assistance needed to ensure they consume all their food.
If you discover that your elderly resident did not receive the proper nutrition needed or failed to receive assistance while eating to avoid malnutrition, consider visiting with a Savannah malnutrition lawyer to help you with your next legal steps. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to get started.
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Symptoms of Malnutrition
The following are some signs and symptoms of malnutrition to watch for when you visit your elderly loved one in a nursing home:
- Brittle or thin hair
- Dental issues
- Dry skin
- Fatigue or lethargy
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle loss
- Nail fissures or ridged nails
- Poor or slow wound healing
- Weakened immune system
- Weight loss
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Malnutrition and Nursing Home Neglect
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services created specific guidelines that require nursing homes to provide specific nutritional requirements to all their nursing home residents. These guidelines clearly intend to prevent any instance of malnutrition in an elderly resident of a nursing home. Additionally, the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 (42 USC § 1395i-3) imposes a legal requirement on nursing homes to assess every resident’s nutritional needs at least every three months.
In some cases, the development of malnutrition in an elderly nursing home resident results from nursing home neglect or even abuse. Employees may use food as a punishment or threat to attempt to receive complaint behavior from residents. In other situations, nursing home employees simply do not have the proper training or experience to understand what nursing home residents need to maintain good health. Understaffing could also lead to employees not having the resources to supervise residents during mealtimes.
Whatever the reason, if your loved one suffered from malnutrition at a nursing home, you can hold the facility responsible for their injuries. A nursing home lawyer can help you build a case to recover compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, relocation costs to another facility, and other damages.
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Learn How a Savannah Malnutrition Lawyer Can Help
Every elderly resident of a nursing home deserves to receive basic care, which includes proper nutrition. If you suspect that your elderly loved one developed serious medical complications or died because of malnutrition in a nursing home, learn how a Savannah malnutrition lawyer can help you fight for justice and compensation. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to discuss your case for free with a member of our team.
Call or text (800) 794-0444 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form