If you find that your loved one is malnourished while living in a nursing home, it may be:
- Cause for you to call authorities
- Reason to bring legal action
- An indication that your loved one is suffering from additional mistreatment
If you suspect or know that your loved one is not receiving the nutrients that they need, a lawyer may be able to help you in several ways. Call our team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to learn more about how a Phoenix malnutrition lawyer may be able to assist you and your loved one.
Overview of Malnutrition
The World Health Organization (WHO) breaks down malnutrition into two categories. They are:
- Being overweight
If you are concerned about malnutrition amongst the elderly, you may generally be referring to undernutrition, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cites intake of nutrients among the most important concerns for those who are getting older. Undernutrition takes several forms, including:
- Being underweight for one’s height
- Being underweight for one’s age
- Low height for one’s age
- Insufficiencies in micronutrients, which can contribute to low weight or height
The various forms of malnutrition can have significant adverse health effects, and if your loved one is showing visible signs of malnutrition, they may be at risk of even greater health problems.
Secondary Outcomes of Malnutrition
If your loved one is not receiving nutrients that the healthy body requires, they could be at risk for several significant health problems. Such changes during aging problems could, according to the Journal of Clinical Gerontology and Geriatrics, include:
- Lower bone density, which may increase the risk of sustaining a fracture
- Decreased muscle mass
- Anemia, or the lack of a healthy amount of red blood cells which depletes your ability to move oxygen through your body, leading to fatigue
- A weakened immune system and lesser ability to heal when wounds or other health issues arise—a potentially fatal combination
- Poor cognitive function
It is generally accepted that, as we age, we become more susceptible to health risks, including malnutrition. This does not mean, however, that malnutrition in your loved one should simply be accepted as a fact of life.
There may be several things that your loved one’s caregivers, and those who oversee the caregivers, should do to promote your loved one’s:
- Intake of food (in terms of quality)
- Intake of food (in terms of quantity)
- Intake of supplements that could improve their nutrient intake
- Overall health
If they are falling short of these standards, then you may have reason to investigate further. Depending on the findings of your investigation—with which you could receive help from a Phoenix malnutrition lawyer, law enforcement, or both—you may want to pursue legal action against one or more parties.
Possible Causes of Malnutrition in a Nursing Home
If you believe that your loved one is not absorbing the nutrients that they need, then there could be several negligence-related reasons why this may be the case. Some of the shortcomings of a nursing home staff with respect to malnutrition may include:
- Feeding your loved one food that is unlikely to provide the nutrients they need to remain healthy
- Failing to help your loved one cut up and ingest the food that they are fed.
- Rushing your loved one at meal time, which could lead to embarrassment which causes them to say they are full when they are not.
- Assuming that your loved one is finished eating when they are not. This could be a problem if your loved one cannot communicate clearly or assertively.
- Failing to protect your loved one from circumstances that could induce anxiety, stymying their appetite as a result.
- Issuing medications in a way that interrupts with your loved one’s appetite or ability to absorb nutrients.
- Failing to administer supplements, such as vitamins and nutrients, that could improve your loved one’s overall nutrient intake.
It may be helpful for you to visit your loved one during meal times to get a better idea of how caregivers administer food to them. If you continue to suspect that your loved one is malnourished and that it is a preventable condition, you may speak with a lawyer to find out your options for taking action.
Call our team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to find out how a Phoenix malnutrition lawyer may be able to help.
Taking Action to Protect Your Loved One
If you believe that your loved one is in danger of suffering acute health problems because of malnutrition or any other consequence of mistreatment, you may want to take action as soon as possible. This may mean:
- Calling local authorities to report any mistreatment that you suspect
- Removing your loved one from their nursing home if it is possible, and you believe this would provide them greater safety
- Calling a lawyer, who may be able to help in several ways
Some of the ways that a lawyer may be able to assist you could include:
- Helping you conduct an investigation into the happenings at the nursing home where your loved one lives, including any policies or direct actions that possibly contributed to your loved one being malnourished.
- Initiating legal action (specifically, a lawsuit) against parties that you and your lawyer believe acted negligently or maliciously towards your loved one.
- Drafting all legal documents and representing your loved one in settlement negotiations or at trial.
- Calculating awards that your loved one may be entitled to.
- Defending your rights and the rights of your loved one.
Your loved one could be entitled to various awards if a jury determines that they were the victim of mistreatment, or your lawyer reaches a settlement to a similar effect.
For a free legal consultation with an malnutrition lawyer serving Phoenix, call (800) 794-0444
Call Our Team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Today
We want to help prevent your loved one from suffering any further harm if they are the victim of mistreatment. You will pay nothing up front or out of pocket, so call our team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free consultation.