The elderly are physically more vulnerable, and proper nutrition can help ensure that they have a healthy immune system and physical strength. One of the reasons a family decides to place their elderly loved one in a nursing home is so that they can rest assured their loved one will receive proper nutrition every day. If you notice that your elderly loved one suffers from malnutrition while they are a resident of a nursing home, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to help you pursue a lawsuit to obtain compensation for your elderly loved one’s injuries.
Malnutrition in Nursing Homes
One nursing home employee may remain responsible for several nursing home residents during mealtimes. If a nursing home remains understaffed, or if a nursing home employee is not properly trained, elderly residents may not receive the required supervision needed to ensure that they obtain proper nutrition on a daily basis. Unfortunately, statistics show that malnutrition of elderly residents throughout nursing homes in the United States is a prevalent problem.
Symptoms of Malnutrition
When you visit your elderly loved one, you should always check them over physically to ensure they are not suffering any kind of physical abuse. You should also monitor their emotions to determine if they exhibit symptoms of emotional and verbal abuse. Additionally, you should monitor your elderly loved one for symptoms of malnutrition. Some of the signs and symptoms of malnutrition may include the following:
- Extremely red mouth. In many cases of malnutrition, an elderly resident may have canker sores, oral thrush, or a yeast infection in their mouths that may cause the mouth to be very red or have white patches on the tongue or cheeks.
- Eye changes. If your elderly loved one has significant worsening vision or red, glassy eyes, it may be an indicator of malnutrition. Additionally, swollen corneas may also be a symptom of elder malnutrition.
- Cognitive dysfunction. Many elderly residents of nursing homes already suffer from cognitive dysfunctional medical conditions, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. However, if your loved one does not have these conditions and suddenly develops the inability to think clearly, seems irrationally irritable, or appears listless, they may be suffering from malnutrition.
- Skin changes. Many elderly persons have thin and brittle skin. However, if your elderly loved one develops a yellowish hue to their skin (or if your loved one has darker skin, it may appear as dull in tone), or if the skin becomes uncharacteristically wrinkled or the skin under the fingernails turns white in color, your elderly loved one may be suffering from malnourishment.
- Muscle wasting. Elderly people lose strength as they age. However, if your elderly loved one suddenly has softened muscles or simple tasks cause them complete fatigue, you may have a claim that your elderly loved one suffers from malnourishment.
The effects of malnutrition are greater than just the symptoms. Elderly residents of nursing homes that suffer from malnutrition may have weight loss and a greater propensity for:
- Extreme fatigue
- Yellowing skin
- White fingernails
- Dental issues
- Poorly healing wounds
- Easy bruising
- Sudden weight loss
- Loss of muscle mass
- Muscle twitches
- Goiters, confusion
- Decreased mental capacity
- Memory issues
- A lowered immune system, making it more difficult for them to fight off other illnesses.
Malnutrition and Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing homes have the responsibility to ensure that their residents all receive proper nutrition every day. In fact, there are specific nutritional guidelines established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that require nursing homes to provide certain nutritional requirements to all their residents. Additionally, nursing homes, under the law, must consistently assess the nutritional needs of their residents at least every three months under the Nursing Home Reform Act.
Unfortunately, many nursing home residents are malnourished. If an elderly resident in a nursing home suffers any kind of malnourishment that leads to a serious injury or death, the nursing home acted negligently and remains responsible. Nursing homes have a duty to provide nutrition to their elderly residents every day, as well as spend time and effort to ensure that that nutrition is actually consumed by those residents. Some elderly seniors have difficulty swallowing or chewing their food.
These residents should have special attention paid to them to ensure that they are eating the nutritious food provided. If the resident remains unable to consume food without assistance, the nursing home should revise the resident’s care plan to include nutrition that can blend in such a way that the resident can easily swallow or consume it. Ultimately, it always remains the responsibility and duty of the nursing home to not only provide nutrition to the residents but also ensure that it is actually consumed by the seniors under their care. Failing to do so can result in a nursing home neglect claim, as the nursing home neglected to provide essential care and nutrition to their residents.
For a free legal consultation with a Malnutrition Lawyer serving Riverside, call (800) 794-0444
Call a Riverside Malnutrition Lawyer Today
Receiving adequate nutrition plays a critical role in the health of any person, especially the elderly. If you placed your elderly loved one in a nursing home, you likely did so with the expectation that they would receive proper hydration and nutrition. If you suspect that your elderly loved one developed serious medical complications, injuries, or even passed away due to malnutrition in a nursing home, contact a Riverside malnutrition lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today.