Nursing homes exist to provide shelter, meals, assistance with daily needs, recreational activities, and social opportunities for residents. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 1.3 million older Americans lived in nursing homes in 2015. For many, these living environments may be safe, healthy, and engaged.
However, not all nursing home residents may be treated well. One form of mistreatment is malnutrition. If older adults need help with preparing their meals, they may have to rely on the trained staff to provide nutritious meals that adhere to dietary needs. Failure to do so may jeopardize the health of a resident and could lead to long-term problems. In severe cases, malnourish may even be fatal.
If your loved one has suffered from malnutrition while living in a nursing home in San Francisco, California and you believe a third party is at fault, you may be entitled to compensation. Call to speak with a team member from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to discuss your case in detail. A San Francisco malnutrition lawyer may be able to help you determine the best course of action during a difficult time.
Every person needs food and water to survive, as this is how we acquire the nutrients needed for the body to function in a healthy manner. If the body is not receiving adequate nutrition, this may be considered malnutrition. Severe forms of malnutrition may lead to ailments such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, or diabetes according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Nutrition is important, and failure to receive proper nutrients may lead to numerous other health conditions and may even be fatal.
If you notice any of the following symptoms, you or a loved one may be suffering from malnutrition:
- Lack of appetite
- Inability to concentrate or decreased mental capacity
- Weight loss including the loss of muscle tissue
- Getting sick more frequently than usual
- Longer healing time for cuts, scrapes, and other wounds
There are many reasons why a person may be suffering from malnutrition, including caregiver errors or negligence. For those living in nursing homes that rely on others to provide their meals, this is a more common cause of malnutrition. If a meal is not balanced, specific to dietary needs, administered frequently enough, or the appropriate portions, residents may suffer. This includes an inadequate hydration regimen, as water and fluids are an important part of one’s diet. Other causes of malnutrition may include:
- Lack of access to nutritious foods
- Failure of nursing home staff to feed well-rounded meals
- Consuming meals too infrequently or in low volume
- Diseases that affect appetite or absorption of food
- Side effects of medication
- Oral disease or health conditions that can make eating uncomfortable or painful
- Dentures or other fixtures that make eating difficult
- Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other mental conditions that may cause confusion
Potential Risk Factors for Elderly Adults
While every person needs nutrients to stay healthy, elderly adults are sometimes more at risk than others for malnutrition and other deficiencies. One reason for this is their potential physical health constraints. Sometimes older adults suffer from ailments that may create muscle weakness and difficulty chewing. This can make the eating process painful and may inhibit the consumption of proper nutrients. Another reason elderly adults are at risk for malnutrition is the potential for a deteriorating mental state. Diseases like dementia may lead to confusion and as a result, may interfere with their diet.
For these reasons, nursing homes employ staff that are specialized and trained to address specific dietary needs. They may provide healthy meals in a way that is consumable for each resident. However, sometimes a nursing home staff fails to perform their duties effectively. Consider contacting Pintas & Mullins Law Firm if you believe your loved one has suffered from malnutrition due to the negligence of nursing home staff.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Neglect is a failure to react in a reasonable manner that may lead to the harm of an individual, while abuse is any behavior that may cause harm to an individual. Both abuse and neglect may occur in nursing homes, a place where family members may assume their loved ones are treated well. Whether intentional or due to neglect, it is possible that your loved one may suffer from malnutrition if a form of neglect or abuse is present. You should consider reporting any suspicions, and you may benefit from understanding the legal options available to you and your family in these situations.
The Nursing Home Reform Act
The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 requires nursing homes to provide adequate care. This federal law mandates that all facilities adhere to a high standard of practice to the best of their ability. If your loved one suffered because of malnutrition that may have been prevented, this third-party error is in violation of federal law. Depending on your case, you may be able to file a claim against those responsible. While every case is different, victims of malnutrition may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, reimbursement for legal fees, punitive damages, and more. Speaking with a San Francisco malnutrition lawyer may be beneficial if you are exploring your options.
For a free legal consultation with an malnutrition lawyer serving San Francisco, call (800) 842-6336
How to Get Help
If your loved one is in a nursing home, you may trust the facility and staff to take care of them and their dietary needs. If they suffer from malnutrition, your entire family may be affected in many ways. If a third party was at fault for this suffering, you may be entitled to compensation. A San Francisco malnutrition lawyer may be able to help. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to discuss your case with a team member. We work on a contingency-fee basis.