Good nutrition is key to longevity, especially for older people in nursing homes. We trust medical and nursing home staff to care for our loved ones when we can no longer do it alone, considering their knowledge and training as far more adequate than we can provide ourselves.
Malnutrition happens in nursing homes for a handful of different reasons, but it can be avoided in most cases when the proper care is administered. If you notice that your loved one in a nursing home is malnourished and their condition is not improving, you may consider contacting a Tucson malnutrition lawyer to help protect their rights. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free case review.
More About Malnutrition
According to the World Health Organization, malnutrition includes a variety of forms, from undernutrition to obesity. While we might tend to think of malnutrition as something that affects people who are still growing, the issue of malnutrition is bigger than that. People in nursing homes make up a vulnerable population of aging adults who can no longer provide adequate medical care for themselves. In some cases, this means that nutrition needs to be closely monitored and reported by nursing home staff.
The health effects of malnutrition can be serious, depending on the scope of the problem. When a person does not have enough to eat, or loses weight from an infection or disease, they could lose too much weight. This puts them at higher risk for cognitive diseases, increased risk of illness, and chronic fatigue. When an individual is overweight from consuming foods that are too high in sugar and fat, and engages in less physical activity, they are prone to some cardiovascular diseases.
Understanding Malnutrition in Nursing Homes
The National Citizen’s Coalition for Nursing Home Reform suggests that most nursing home residents facing malnutrition are under-nourished. The report mentions that “calorie and protein intakes are often low among nursing home residents—30 to 50 percent are substandard in body weight.” In addition, residents who had a chronically lower body weight faced serious health consequences.
Some of the potential consequences of malnutrition include the following:
- Increased infection rates
- Bed sores
- Low Blood Pressure
- Confusion, cognitive effects
- Worsened mood, depression
- Increased chance of death
- If your loved one is not eating enough and lacking appropriate care or attention from nursing home staff, a Tucson malnutrition lawyer can help you determine the negligent party responsible and file a claim.
Nursing Care Laws in Arizona
Arizona law embraces the foundations of the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 in its laws concerning fair treatment of nursing home residents. Nursing home residents have a right to good quality care, including being “free from abuse and neglect,” according to the Official U.S. Government Site for Medicare. When your loved one suffers from malnutrition, it could be due to negligent nursing home or medical staff. Having difficulty eating is not unheard of in nursing home residents, but there are ways to prevent something as dire as malnutrition from becoming a serious health concern.
Legal Pursuits Against Elder Abuse and Malnutrition
It is time to take action against negligent nursing home staff as soon as possible. The statute of limitations for possible civil claims against nursing homes varies and can be as little as two years from the date of the incident. In any case, contacting a lawyer as early as possible could help you understand your legal options.
To file a claim against an abusive nursing home, you must report it to the proper authorities. In Arizona, like most states, good reporting usually starts with the Adult Protective Services. This is a state-funded organization that will determine if your loved one is suffering at the hands of nursing home staff, and the best ways to remove them from that particular situation. In some cases, law enforcement will need to be involved for criminal behavior like theft, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or exploitation.
Civil claims for nursing home lawsuits may include:
- Breach of Contract: Federal law stipulates that all nursing home residents must have a care plan when they begin living in a nursing home. This covers all of their needs from food and medication, to social interaction. If nursing home staff was negligent to your loved one, there is a good chance your contract was broken. In Arizona, you have up to four years from the date the contract was broken to file a legal claim.
- Personal Injury: If your loved one needs to be compensated for an injury related to their malnutrition, a personal injury claim may be filed to cover your expenses. Compensatory damages in a personal injury case include medical bills, emergency room treatment, prescription medications, medical equipment, and any cost of continued medical care that directly relates to the incident. In Arizona, you have up to two years from when the injury happened to file a personal injury lawsuit.
- Medical Malpractice: If you trusted a medical professional with the good caretaking of your loved one, and they still suffered malnutrition, you may have a medical malpractice case. You have up to two years from the date of the incident to file a medical malpractice claim.
The list above is not intended to be exhaustive of your legal options in a lawsuit for malnutrition. A Tucson malnutrition lawyer can advise you on your most substantial claims, and help you build a strong case to hold negligent parties accountable.
For a free legal consultation with an malnutrition lawyer serving Tucson, call (800) 794-0444
Connect With a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Malnutrition is a cruel condition that causes unnecessary suffering for your loved one. In any medical care facility like a nursing home, your loved one is entitled to good treatment that keeps their dignity and respect as the top priority.
Your individual circumstances will determine your best legal options to defend your loved one’s rights. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free case evaluation. We do not shy away from the tough cases and may be able to secure a fair settlement on you and your loved one’s behalf.