It is important to be aware of the risks associated with elderly malnutrition. Malnutrition is a senior health issue that you can prevent and detect, which can include the following warning signs:
- Is the elderly person’s body mass below their recommended weight?
- Have they had a sudden or unintentional loss of weight?
- Has their appetite or food intake changed?
Other warning signs of elderly malnutrition may include:
- Sarcopenia, the involuntary loss of muscle which increases the risk of injury
- Cachexia, bodily protein degradation which can occur in conjunction with heart failure, arthritis, cancer, infections, and pressure sores
- Lack of concentration
- Physical impairment
These are not the only warning signs of elderly malnutrition. If your loved one is displaying these or any other related symptoms, they may be the victim of elder abuse or elder neglect.
Health Risks Associated with Elderly Malnutrition
Depriving an elderly person of a diet that provides them with adequate nutrition may lead to serious medical issues and even death. According to the National Institutes of Health, malnutrition in a nursing home is so common that approximately 20% of nursing home residents suffer from some form of malnutrition, and mortality is the major consequence of malnutrition among nursing home residents.
The Mayo Clinic says that elderly malnutrition can also lead to other serious health issues, such as:
- Weakened immune defense
- Increased vulnerability to infections
- Weakened muscles and bones
- Increased risk of falling and breaking bones
- Increased risk of hospitalization and death
Determining What Caused Elderly Malnutrition
It may be difficult to determine why a person is malnourished, especially when a combination of contributing factors exists in conjunction with abusive nursing home practices and conditions. Some of these factors may include:
- Impaired ability to eat: An inability to chew, swallow, breathe, or use silverware can contribute to malnutrition.
- Dementia: This may lead to irregular eating habits and decreased appetite.
- Side effects of medications: Some medications may adversely affect appetite or nutrient absorption.
- Sensitivity to certain nutrients: Some medical conditions, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure, may limit a person’s ability to consume certain foods, thereby limiting the nutrients that a person absorbs.
- Lack of mobility: Decreased mobility impairs physical ability to consume food
- Depression: Grief and depression can reduce appetite
- Disease or illness: Certain medical conditions may reduce appetite and nutrient absorption.
Your loved one may be suffering from malnutrition as a result of any of these or other potential issues in conjunction with neglect committed by nursing home staff or other caregivers.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-934-6555
Liability for Elder Malnutrition
If your loved one is displaying signs of elderly malnutrition, seek medical treatment for them immediately. To prove that nursing home neglect is a contributing factor to your family member’s malnutrition, it will be necessary to ascertain evidence that establishes the following:
- The nursing facility had a duty to ensure your loved one’s adequate nutrition.
- The nursing facility did not meet this obligation.
- This failure to provide adequate nutrition harmed your loved one.
- The nursing facility’s negligence prompted your loved one’s injury or death
When malnutrition is caused by nursing home negligence, your family may be eligible to receive compensation for:
- Medical treatments related to malnutrition
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
These are not the only examples of compensation you could recover, depending on the specific circumstances surrounding your case.
How a Lawyer Can Help with Your Case
Our attorneys can assist with your case in a variety of ways. We can:
- Identify those who are responsible for the malnutrition injury
- Obtain medical evidence that establishes causation
- Depose witnesses
- Obtain expert medical testimony
- Fight for a settlement that covers your losses
- Argue your case before a judge or jury, if necessary
If a member of your family is malnourished due to the negligence of the staff at a senior living facility, your family should not have to pay the costs of treatment out of pocket. Our elder abuse lawyers will represent you on a contingency basis, which means there is no cost to you until we recover money for your family.
As soon as you suspect that a nursing home’s neglect caused or contributed to your loved one’s malnutrition, call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for a free case evaluation. The sooner you call, the sooner we can begin the process of establishing liability and helping you to recover any compensation to which you may be entitled.