Rapid weight loss or hair loss are symptoms of malnutrition and dehydration, two conditions that could be warning signs of nursing home abuse and neglect.
Millions of seniors reside in nursing homes in the United States, and that number is likely to increase as our population rapidly ages. Sadly, nursing home abuse and neglect is a common problem. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), a survey of 2,000 residents found 44 percent of them reported abuse, and 95 percent said they had been neglected or seen another resident neglected.
Elder abuse in all its forms is wrong, not to mention illegal. When you put your parent, spouse, or other loved one into a nursing home, you expect them to be adequately provided for and treated with kindness and respect. If your loved one is experiencing signs of malnutrition and dehydration, it could signal serious deficiencies in their care.
A Savannah rapid weight loss or hair loss lawyer can help you take action if your loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect. For more information, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm.
Rapid weight loss or hair loss are signs that your body is not getting all the nutrients it requires. According to the Postgraduate Medical Journal, seniors have a high risk of malnutrition because of a variety of underlying health conditions and complications from aging. These include:
- Loss of taste and smell
- Decreased appetite associated with aging or with drug interactions
- Oral health problems
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- Mobility issues
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s
- Depression and loneliness
- Lack of accommodation of dietary needs
- Other underlying health conditions, like cancer or gastrointestinal issues
Nursing homes in Georgia must serve meals every five hours, with no more than 14 hours between dinner and breakfast, according to a compilation of state laws on nursing home dietary requirements by the University of Minnesota. Snacks and drinks should be offered between meals and at bedtime. Nursing homes also should have staff members available to provide residents with assistance at mealtimes.
Rapid weight loss or hair loss could indicate your loved one is not being provided enough nutrient-rich meals and snacks, or that they are not being given needed help eating and drinking. Other signs your loved one could be malnourished include:
- Increased rate of illness
- Lack of concentration
- Slow-healing wounds
Many of the same complications that increase an older adult’s risk for malnutrition may also make them more vulnerable to dehydration. In addition, as we age, our bodies naturally retain less water, and our sense of thirst decreases. According to the Mayo Clinic, health conditions like diabetes and kidney disease also contribute to dehydration. Even minor illnesses can cause dehydration in seniors, and fever, vomiting, and diarrhea can cause rapid fluid loss.
Nursing home staff should be alert for any signs of dehydration, such as confusion, dizziness, fatigue, infrequent urination, dark urine, or sunken cheeks and eyes. Caregivers should make sure residents are offered water throughout the day, and fluid intake should be monitored.
In addition to hair loss, severe or prolonged dehydration can lead to urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and life-threatening diseases like kidney failure.
If you suspect your loved one lives in a nursing home and suffered from malnutrition or dehydration, a Savannah rapid weight loss or hair loss lawyer may be able to help you seek justice.
For a free legal consultation with an rapid weight loss or hair loss lawyer serving Savannah, call (800) 794-0444
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Nursing home abuse may be physical, mental, sexual, or financial. Neglect is another form of abuse. Sometimes, neglect can happen when a nursing home is understaffed, or the staff is not properly trained.
In addition to malnutrition and dehydration, other signs of abuse and neglect may include:
- Lack of hygiene, such as infrequent bathing or dirty clothes and hair
- Lack of help with mobility
- Unexplained bruises, sores, cuts, burns, or other injuries
- Frequent falls and accidents
- Lack of help using the restroom
- Lack of changing soiled clothing and diapers
You should also be aware of changes in your loved one’s behavior. Depression, signs of trauma, trouble sleeping, becoming withdrawn, and losing interest in activities they used to enjoy, all could indicate abuse.
If you suspect abuse or neglect, you can contact the Georgia State Department of Community Health at (800) 878-6442. You may also want to file a report with the local police department, adult protective services, or an agency that advocates for the elderly. If you see abuse as it is happening, or the situation is an emergency, call 911.
How Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Can Help
Nursing home abuse and neglect should never be tolerated. If your loved one has experienced rapid weight loss or hair loss, it could be a warning there are serious issues with their care. A Savannah rapid weight loss or hair loss lawyer can help you investigate your claims and work to seek compensation for your loved one’s pain and suffering.
A lawyer may be able to help you seek awards for medical costs associated with your loved one’s injuries. This may include doctor visits, hospital stays, treatments and medications, ongoing therapies, and any other medical expenses.
Your loved one may also be awarded damages for their pain and suffering. In cases of especially malicious neglect or wrongdoing, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the defendant for their actions. If your loved one died because of abuse or neglect, you might be able to sue for wrongful death.
Our team can help you gather evidence to support your case, as well as help you identify liable parties and damages you may be owed. We can help you through every step of your case so that you and your loved one can focus on healing. Our job is to seek the best possible outcome for you.
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we believe in fighting for seniors’ rights. Our firm was established in 1985 with the goal of helping nursing home residents and their families seek justice.
To learn more about how we may be able to help you, contact our offices for a risk-free consultation. We work on a contingency basis, so you pay nothing up front and nothing out of pocket. We only collect a fee if we win a settlement. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm.