Is Malnutrition a Sign of Nursing Home Neglect?

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Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer NJ

There is no doubt based on national statistics that nursing home abuse and neglect are on the rise. One of the types of neglect and abuse cases a nursing home neglect lawyer handles is malnutrition. Elderly residents are usually in a weakened state, to begin with, at greater risk of infections and other illnesses. Age and medical conditions usually mean a weakened immune system.

But a nursing home resident who does not receive the proper nutrition is at great risk of illness and death. Most of the malnutrition cases that occur in nursing homes are due to underfeeding residents, despite federal regulations on what nursing homes are required to provide for residents.

How Does Malnutrition Occur

When a person does not get the right kinds of food or not enough food, they will eventually suffer from malnutrition. One of the main causes of nursing home malnutrition is understaffing. When there are not enough employees to make sure that all residents are fed, and that these residents actually eat their meals, some residents will be overlooked.

Other reasons why a nursing home resident could be suffering from malnutrition include:

  • Depression
  • Lack of individualized care
  • Loneliness
  • Nursing home staff being unaware of a resident’s dietary restrictions
  • Nursing home staff not paying enough attention to the resident
  • Nursing home staff relying too much on feeding tubes and liquid supplements
  • Poor eating habits
  • Problems with chewing
  • Problems with swallowing
  • Problems with teeth
  • Resident has limited mobility and needs assistance with feeding

Signs of Malnutrition

There are both physical and mental symptoms that a resident with malnutrition may exhibit. The physical symptoms include:

  • Easily fatigued
  • Issues with eyes, such as bad vision, glassy or red eyes, swollen corneas
  • Issues with the mouth, such as yeast infection on the tongue and cheeks, canker sores, bright red mouth
  • Muscular problems
  • Yellow skin
  • Cognitive symptoms include:
  • Confusion
  • Has problems thinking clearly
  • Irritable
  • Memory loss

Preventing Malnutrition

There is no reason why a resident should suffer from malnutrition. It is the legal responsibility of the nursing home to take care of the residents in their care. Every nursing home should do the following:

  • Monitor the weight of each resident at least once a month, more for residents who are at risk for malnutrition
  • Put together an individual plan for each resident based on their dietary and other needs
  • Make sure each resident has the nutrition and water intake they need
  • Assist residents with feeding if needed
  • Giving nursing home staff enough time to serve all residents and give residents enough time to eat
  • Avoid giving residents dietary supplements in place of meals

Contact a Nursing Home Lawyer for Legal Assistance

If you suspect your elderly loved one is being abused or neglected, please call an experienced attorney, like a nursing home neglect lawyer from a law firm like Davis & Brusca, LLC.