One of the most common but preventable maladies experienced by elderly residents in a nursing home is malnutrition. Elderly residents may already suffer from weakened immune systems and medical conditions, and nutrition is often a great help in giving them the strength they need to enjoy a healthy life.
If a senior in a nursing home becomes malnourished, it may be a sign of elder abuse or neglect. If your elderly loved one suffered from injuries or death due to malnutrition in a nursing home, it might benefit you to hire a Forest Park malnutrition lawyer to help with your case. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to help ensure your elderly loved one’s legal rights remain protected.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Malnutrition
If you visit your elderly loved one in a nursing home and see that they suffered from any of the following signs or symptoms, they may have suffered from malnourishment.
- Sudden or significant weight loss
- Decreased consumption of food at mealtimes
- Wounds that do not seem to heal appropriately or in a timely manner
- Skin appears yellow in places
- Emotional changes such as irritability, exhaustion, confusion, anger, or fear
- Dental conditions
- Reduction in muscle mass
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Bright red face (or mouth)
- White spots under the fingernails
- Exceptionally wrinkled skin
- Flaccid muscles
- Impaired eyesight, red or glassy eyes, swelling of the cornea
If you suspect that your elderly loved one suffers from malnutrition based on any of these signs or symptoms, you should immediately contact the nursing home management, as well as Adult Protective Services and, depending on the circumstance, the police.
Nursing Homes and Malnutrition
Every resident of a nursing home has a right to nourishment daily. Each nursing home resident must have a care plan developed specifically for them that includes their nutritional needs. The nursing home staff members have a duty and obligation to ensure that the residents properly receive according to this care plan.
Additionally, the nursing home has a responsibility not only to provide this nutrition to the senior residents but also must ensure that the residents consume this nutrition.
Unfortunately, many nursing homes do not provide the attention and care necessary to ensure that each resident receives the nutrition they need. Under the Nursing Home Reform Act, nursing homes must meet the nutritional needs of each resident. Otherwise, the facility may be guilty of negligence or abuse. The following are dietary requirements for long term care facilities, according to the Code of Federal Regulations Statute 483.35:
- The long-term care facility has to have a qualified dietician to consult on the menu.
- Each resident must eat three meals a day, provided by the facility.
- The menu has to meet the nutritional needs of each resident.
- The staff has to offer substitutes to residents who won’t eat the food.
- The staff must give residents a bedtime snack.
- The resident has to maintain an acceptable body weight and protein level.
- The facility has to give the resident enough liquids to stay hydrated.
- The facility has to provide residents with the eating equipment they need.
This is not an exhaustive list of every requirement in the statute. If you notice the nursing facility has not been meeting these standards, and that your loved one shows signs of malnutrition, it could be beneficial to speak with a Forest Park malnutrition lawyer to explore your legal options. Contact a member of the Pintas & Mullins Law Firm team for a free consultation of your case.
For a free legal consultation with a Malnutrition Lawyer serving Forest Park, call (800) 794-0444
Malnutrition and Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
Malnutrition does not occur after one missed meal. It occurs in the elderly after systemic and continual deprivation of nutritional food. According to a University of Hawaii review, about 20% of nursing home residents had malnutrition.
In many cases, a nursing home may remain continually understaffed, leading to less oversight and monitoring of elderly residents to ensure they are eating their meals and snacks properly.
In other cases, nursing home staff members have too many tasks to perform. They, therefore, do not carefully monitor whether or not the senior residents of the facility obtain or actually consume their food regularly.
In some serious cases, nursing home staff residents are so overworked that they remain unable to assist those elderly residents who need help with eating at mealtimes. Some nursing homes lack nutritious meals or food to provide to residents due to strapped budgets and decreased funds. In these cases, they still provide food, but it may be poorly prepared, spoiled, inedible, or innutritious.
Finally, in the worst-case scenarios, nursing homes will actually starve certain elderly residents on purpose. In these horrific cases, nursing homes use food as a reward or as a punishment for a resident’s behavior. If an elderly resident has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, they may not be able to remember that the staff did not feed them proper nutrition, or that they withheld food.
The purposeful withholding of food from elderly residents is elder abuse, and those responsible should be held legally liable for the consequences of their actions. If your elderly loved one suffered from malnutrition in a nursing home due to nursing home neglect or abuse, you might benefit from hiring a Forest Park malnutrition lawyer to help protect their legal rights.
Forest Park Malnutrition Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
Hiring a Forest Park Malnutrition Lawyer
If you suspect that your elderly loved one suffered from malnutrition due to elder abuse or neglect in a nursing home, you have the legal right to pursue charges against the nursing home facility for any injuries or death suffered by your loved one. Contact a member of our Pintas & Mullins Law Firm team for a free consultation.