Malnutrition is a lot more than not eating right. In fact, a report published in the US National Library of Medicine found that malnutrition takes on many physically apparent forms, like “depression, cognitive impairment, functional impairment, and swallowing difficulty.” To some people, this will sound less like malnutrition, and more like typical “difficult” nursing home residents. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Your loved one is not in a nursing home because he or she is “difficult,” but because of a special need for assistance with daily practices, not limited to eating, drinking, sleeping, and socializing. According to a report on the National Library of Medicine, malnutrition in nursing homes is easily preventable and should be considered an obvious sign of elder abuse. An Oak Park malnutrition lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help. Call us today for a free consultation.
Nursing Home Quality Care
Abuse and neglect have only recently been taken seriously by legislators, with the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 as a pertinent example. Despite changes in legislation to prevent nursing home abuse, it is still a big problem in the United States. It is only with repeated reports of abuse and bringing them to the judicial system that we can hope to improve elder care for people throughout the country. Your loved one is entitled to care that helps them thrive as an individual. Moving into a nursing home does not mean your rights are taken away; rather, it reinforces them. Accordingly, nursing home staff members are obligated to help your loved one maintain good “physical and mental health, and sense of satisfaction,” according to the State of Illinois’ Department of Aging. This sense of care as a basic right is echoed in federal legislation too.
Malnutrition Rates and Consequences
The creation and passing of legislation has not rendered nursing home abusers powerless. One initiative by a group of senior care advocates in California proved that state surveyors were missing some painfully obvious signs of abuse in nursing home residents, like “pressure sores, malnutrition, and dehydration.” Obviously, even though there are laws to reduce instances of elder abuse, malnutrition and dehydration cases can go completely under the radar.
Here are some of the common side effects of under-nutrition, according to the same report:
- Infections (including urinary tract infections and pneumonia)
- Pressure ulcers
- Confusion and impaired cognition
- Increased morbidity
The effects of malnutrition can be long-lasting and eventually fatal. If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from malnutrition due to the negligence of nursing home staff, our lawyers can help.
Legal Pursuits Against Elder Abuse and Malnutrition
When you are seeking a financial award in your loved one’s case of malnutrition, you will file a civil claim to prove nursing home abuse or neglect. You may consider a number of potential claims with nuanced statutes of limitations, proof of burden, and desired settlements from the liable party.
In certain cases, your elder abuse claim could be considered a criminal offense. However, this would include proving that your loved one’s nursing home caretakers committed a criminal offense in order to prevent your loved one from eating and getting nutrients. This is less likely in most cases, but not impossible. It is best to speak with one of our lawyers who can clear up any confusion about the litigation process and nursing home abuse laws with you.
It is important to begin building your case as soon as you think you may have one. Your loved one deserves justice, and so do future residents who could be in the same position one day. Do not hesitate to contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm with your concerns. We work on a contingency fee basis, so we do not get paid until you and your loved ones receive a satisfactory settlement.
Building a Case Against Elder Abuse and Malnutrition
When you work with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we will determine and prove liability for the good care of your loved one. There are some clear instances of neglect that can lead to malnutrition, according to the previously mentioned study from the National Citizen’s Coalition for Nursing Home Reform. These include, but are not limited to:
- Lack of “minimum direct-care staffing ratio at mealtimes.”
- Lack of “adequate management and supervision of staff by licensed nurses.”
- Lack of “involvement of all professionals including physicians, nurses, registered dietitians, speech pathologists, and dentists.”
- Lack of education “for nursing assistants on assisting residents to eat and drink safely and adequately.”
- Lack of evaluating nutritional status
- Lack of an “environment conducive to eating… including homelike surroundings at mealtime, smaller social neighborhoods, attractive food” and more.
- Lack of “Citing and finding deficiencies in nursing homes to improve compliance.”
When your loved one suffers from malnutrition, there are many steps that nursing home staff can take to mitigate the problem. When they don’t and your loved one suffers as a result, you should hold them liable for their actions. Remember, your loved one is entitled to good, quality care in a nursing home. Hold all liable parties accountable for their actions when you work with an Oak Park malnutrition lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm.
For a free legal consultation with a Malnutrition Lawyer serving Oak Park, call (800) 794-0444
Consult an Oak Park Malnutrition Lawyer
The lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have a vested interest in protecting the dignity of your loved one, and your rights to peace of mind when your loved one enters nursing home care. Signs of malnutrition in your loved one are not only alarming, but they could also indicate much bigger problems that are a result of systemic abuse in the nursing home.
Do not tolerate any form of abuse. Suspected abuse is enough reason to open a legal case. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm now to begin working on justice for your loved one.