Nursing homes are responsible for ensuring the care of your elderly loved one’s physical and medical needs, and that they live in a healthy, safe environment. Unfortunately, the statistics are harrowing. Nursing home abuse is on the rise, and oftentimes residents suffer from malnourishment.
If your loved one suffered from sudden weight loss due to a nursing home’s negligence, they may be in danger of additional medical complications or even death. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 201-3999 to understand your legal rights.
Medical Conditions and Weight Loss in the Elderly
The residents of a nursing home have more medical complications and issues than the general population. However, it is the staff’s responsibility to watch for signs of sudden weight loss in patients that have medical conditions that may lead to reduced eating or refusal to eat.
Depression accounts for a substantial number of elderly residents who have sudden weight loss in nursing home environments. Residents may feel frustrated and depressed that they are now in a nursing home environment and may miss their homes, family, and friends. They may have depression regarding a medical condition. If a staff member notices that a resident has depression, it is important to immediately obtain help for them and ensure that their nutritional needs are being met.
Other causes of weight loss include medications that induce anorexia, drug reactions, swallowing disorders, paranoia, dementia, gallstones, or even obsessive-compulsive disorders. The nursing home staff has the responsibility to closely monitor the nutritional and hydration intake of its residents. Due to residents’ weakened immune systems and significant medical conditions, nursing home staff must closely monitor each resident to ensure that they are receiving proper nutrition.
The majority of medically-related sudden weight loss cases are preventable and potentially treatable. However, if the nursing home staff fail in their duty and responsibility to not only provide proper nutrition but ensure that it is being consumed by the residents, they are negligent if a resident suffers from unexpected weight loss.
If your elderly loved one suffered from sudden weight loss in nursing homes due to the negligence of the staff, contact our legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 201-3999 to help you with your next steps.
Malnutrition and Weight Loss in Nursing Home Residents
Malnutrition is, unfortunately, a common occurrence throughout nursing homes in the United States, with reported rates of over 66% of elderly residents not receiving the nourishment needed for their health. While it is true that in some cases, residents refused to eat food, forget to eat food, or refuse to eat certain foods, the nursing home must ensure that the residents receive nourishment despite their protests.
Balanced diets and specific caloric intakes are crucial for elderly residents to maintain their health, prevent malnutrition in the nursing home, and fight infections and other medical conditions. Without proper nutrition, elderly residents can have rapid weight loss, low energy, anemia, low blood pressure, and other life-threatening medical conditions.
The consequences of malnutrition in nursing homes are oftentimes life-threatening. Malnutrition in elderly residents can cause complete and systemic functional decline, a decreased quality of life, and in some cases even death. If you notice that your loved one suffered any of the above-mentioned signs or symptoms of malnutrition, speak with the nursing home immediately. If an elderly person suffers malnutrition in a nursing home, it is a form of neglect.
Causes of Sudden Weight Loss in Nursing Homes
Some examples of nursing home negligence which can lead to sudden weight loss include the following:
- Failure to provide proper nutrition to residents
- Failure to ensure the consumption of that nutrition by residents
- Failure to monitor patients that have medical conditions that may make them averse to eating any type of food, or certain types of food
- Failure to provide appropriate staff to provide resident’s requests for food
- Failure to train the staff to recognize symptoms of the resident’s not eating, or eating too little
- Failure to monitor residents who may struggle with swallowing
- Failure to remain vigilant and notice the first signs of weight loss
- Failure to properly monitor medications which may cause a lack of appetite
- Failure to recommend additional snacks to residents
- Failure to notify a doctor if a staff member notices a resident’s sudden weight loss or any other medical symptoms
- Failure to monitor and measure a resident’s nutritional consumption
When nursing homes fail to give food and proper nutrition to their residents on a timely basis and ensure that they eat the food provided, they are negligent in their responsibility to provide the proper care of that resident. Many elderly residents simply do not remember to eat food due to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, do not feel hungry due to depression or due to medications causing lack of appetite, or are hungry but simply cannot obtain food for themselves. The responsibility rests completely with the nursing home staff to ensure that their residents do not have sudden weight loss, which is completely preventable.
Contact a Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer Today
No nursing home resident should ever have sudden weight loss. If your elderly loved one suffered from unexplained weight loss as a resident of a nursing home, it is likely that it was due to the nursing home staff’s negligence. Contact our legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336 to help you understand how to address the nursing home abuse suffered by your elderly loved one due to a nursing home’s negligence.