If your elderly loved one suffered rapid weight loss or hair loss as a nursing home resident, you have the right to pursue a claim against the nursing home facility. There are many reasons that an elderly resident of a nursing home may lose weight, or even have hair loss. However, in many cases, rapid weight loss or any hair loss of a resident can be a sign of nursing home neglect or abuse. Many nursing home residents have frail immune systems and functional impairments that require specific nutrition, hydration, and constant monitoring by nursing home staff members.
Without receiving proper attention regarding nutrition and hydration, nursing home residents can suffer several serious medical conditions, resulting in injuries or death. Contact a Chicago rapid weight loss or hair loss lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm by calling us to help you determine your loved one’s legal rights.
Causes of Rapid Weight Loss
With compromised immune systems and frail health, many elderly residents of nursing homes are more vulnerable to diseases and infections than the average population. An elderly resident of a nursing home may have rapid weight loss for numerous reasons, including the following:
- Poor or inadequate food and nutrition served at the nursing home.
- The inability to eat or swallow normal foods, requiring a special pureed diet or assistance to eat.
- The abusive or negligent withholding of food by nursing home staff.
- Malnutrition or dehydration for any reason.
Elderly Residents Are More Susceptible to Rapid Weight Loss
Malnutrition is one of the main causes of unintentional weight loss in older adults, and elderly residents of nursing homes are particularly susceptible to malnutrition. Oftentimes, an elderly resident may have lost their sense of taste, smell, or appetite, leading them to want to eat less. Other times, a nursing home resident may have depression or some form of a cognitive medical condition such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. These conditions can lead them to have either a decreased appetite or inability to feed themselves. Additionally, some medications taken by the elderly can cause gastrointestinal issues, decreasing their appetite.
Even ill-fitting dentures or having tremors in the hands may make eating uncomfortable, so nursing home residents may avoid eating altogether. Whatever the underlying reason, nursing home staff members should be aware of every single resident’s challenges and ensure that they are all receiving proper hydration and nutrition several times every day.
For a free legal consultation with a Rapid Weight Loss or Hair Loss Lawyer serving Chicago, call (800) 794-0444
Causes of Hair Loss
Many elderly residents may have natural hair loss as they age. However, any time a senior resident of a nursing home begins to lose hair rapidly, there is cause for concern. There are several causes of hair loss, but the predominant one in a nursing home may relate to malnutrition. If an elderly resident does not receive the correct balance of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals every day, these deficiencies may significantly and rapidly change their hair, skin, and nails.
Another cause of hair loss in nursing homes can be due to hyperthyroidism, which is often treated with medications. A healthy diet can also assist in the loss of hair due to diabetes. In other cases, anemia can cause headaches, fatigue, and hair loss. Many elderly seniors suffer from anemia when they do not have enough nutritional supplements, including iron. These deficiencies may resolve with over-the-counter medications that assist with supplementing a system with proper vitamins and minerals.
Finally, the condition known as androgenic alopecia is a common cause of hair loss in the elderly. In the early stages, simple shampoos can treat this condition. However, in later stages, certain prescription medications are required. Some of these hair loss causes are simply due to age. However, if your elderly loved one suffered recent hair loss, and you suspect that it may be in part to a nutritional deficiency, you should consider visiting with the management of the nursing home, Adult Protective Services, or even law enforcement depending on the severity of the situation, and you should also contact a Chicago rapid weight loss or hair loss lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm.
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Duty to Provide Adequate Nutrition
A nursing home has the responsibility and duty to provide adequate nutrition and make accommodations for all their elderly residents regarding their food and water intake every day. They must provide food that meets the daily recommended allowances for each resident, and serve it in a way that the resident is able to ingest it easily. They must provide sufficient fluids and assess how much water each resident is drinking daily.
Malnutrition can lead to far worse consequences than weight loss or hair loss. In fact, malnutrition can lead to weakness, falls, fractures, muscle wasting, bedsores, cognitive impairment, infections, sepsis, or even death. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you should request to know what type of assessment they use to determine if their residents are receiving proper nutrition every day.
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Failure to provide adequate nutrition and hydration to nursing home residents is a form of elderly neglect and abuse, which can lead to rapid weight loss or hair loss. If your elderly loved one suffered from any weight loss or hair loss, they possibly received inadequate nutrition for some time. If you believe your elderly loved one suffered any form of abuse or neglect within a nursing home, contact a Chicago rapid weight loss or hair loss lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to help you determine your legal rights.