Elderly residents in nursing homes need careful monitoring as they age. This is the primary job of the staff at a nursing home. If something seems amiss with a resident, then the staff should be on alert to deal with it.
The challenge for the nursing home staff is to keep a close watch on all of its residents. At any time, a nursing home resident might miss a medication, or not get a meal for dinner, or not receive baths as per the normal routine. Any of these oversights might be mere human mistakes by the staff, or they could be indicators of abandonment issues in the nursing home.
The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) defines abandonment when an elderly person (either in or not in a nursing home) is left alone by the person charged with the care of the elderly person. Abandonment signals could be when an assigned staff person deserts the elderly person or leaves them alone without care for an extended period of time.
This can apply to issues around nutrition and eating as well. Nursing homes can be at risk of malpractice or negligence charges if there is a failure to notify a doctor if a staff member notices a resident’s sudden weight loss or any other medical symptoms.
Sudden Weight Loss
Elderly persons living in nursing homes can experience a sudden loss of weight. Some of this weight loss may be attributed to the rampant diseases that afflict a nursing home. It may also be due in part to management challenges in having enough staff to take care of the residents. Without proper care, nursing home residents could suffer from improper nutrition, dehydration, or other areas of concern.
If you have a loved one in a nursing home who is suffering from an undetermined loss of weight, it may be time to ask questions of the staff to get to the bottom of the issue. Is the nursing home having an employee staffing issue? Is your loved one suffering from symptoms of a medical condition, like diarrhea or stomach pain associated with illnesses like Crohn’s disease or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)?
All of these may be contributing to the poor nutrition of your elderly parent or spouse.
Medical News Today outlines a number of reasons why a senior might experience sudden weight loss in a short amount of time. Factors include:
- poor food service in the nursing home or missed meals in the nursing home
- depression or fatigue
- Severe medical conditions (hyperthyroidism, Crohn’s disease, IBD)
- Possible elder abuse by the staff in not providing meals to the resident
- Missed medications altering appetite and fostering dizziness
Neglect and Abuse
An unexplained loss of weight could also bring charges of negligence to the staff at a nursing home. This is true especially if there is a failure to notify a doctor if a staff member notices a resident’s sudden weight loss or any other medical symptoms. In some cases, evidence of elder abuse may exist. There are nursing homes that simply do not live up to an acceptable standard of care for their residents.
Nursing Home Lawsuit
Checking on your loved one in a nursing home is often not a joyous visit. You may see signs of neglect around the home, the staff may appear inattentive, and the residents may look uncared for in certain situations. Even your own senior spouse or parent may not look well due to rapid weight loss. This could be due to your senior suffering from:
- The onset of Alzheimer’s disease, in which some patients simply forget to eat
- Ill effects of being on too many medications at one time
- Stomach issues or other gastro-intestinal medical concerns
- Depression, which leads to a lack of interest in eating, drinking and other basics
These conditions can attack one’s motivation to eat properly. Plus, resident negligence may be at work.
You should not have to monitor the daily goings-on at the nursing home, particularly if there is an abject failure to notify a doctor if a staff member notices a resident’s sudden weight loss or any other medical symptoms. Consider getting legal representation to file a nursing home lawsuit. If we are able to find negligence in the nursing home, you may be entitled to a financial settlement.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to get a free assessment of your situation. We will give you a no-fee consultation to hear your story and learn more about your particular case. Call us at (800) 842-6336.