Poor Nursing Home Conditions Can Lead To Malnutrition & Dehydration

nursing home patient and staffIt has been estimated that at least 1/3 of the 1.5 million nursing home residents in the U.S. will suffer some form of malnutrition or dehydration while in the nursing home. The health risks and hazards to the elderly from these conditions are especially serious and can lead to severe problems which include:

  • Tooth Decay
  • Muscle Atrophy
  • Broken Bones        
  • Weight Loss
  • Anemia          
  • Infection
  • Low Blood Pressure    
  • Poor Healing

All of these can even result in death if not rectified.

Causes

If the nursing home staff performs their jobs properly, malnutrition and dehydration should never be an issue in any situation, since all of the primary causes can readily be avoided. The most common causes of malnutrition and dehydration in nursing home residents include:

  • Inadequate attention and care from the staff
  • Poor training and education of the staff in recognition and prevention of these problems
  • Failure to assist residents in properly eating and drinking
  • Failure to properly position residents to facilitate eating and drinking
  • Failure to monitor residents to insure that they receive adequate food and liquids
  • Providing unappetizing food
  • Absence of adequate fresh water/liquids within easy reach of residents, including at bedside
  • Failure to monitor oral health resulting in conditions that make it difficult to eat or drink

Symptoms

Family members, friends and visitors of nursing home residents should be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of malnutrition & dehydration when they make visits. Such signs and symptoms might show up as:

  • Weight Loss        
  • Clothes Don’t Fit        
  • False Teeth Don’t Fit
  • Dry/Cracked Lips    
  • Pale Coloring in Mouth        
  • Bright Red Tongue
  • Dry Skin        
  • Dry Mouth/Speech Difficulty    
  • Loose Teeth/Mouth Sores
  • Frequent Thirst        
  • Slow Healing of Wounds    
  • Disoriented or Weak
  • Infrequent Urination and/or dark, discolored Urine

What To Do If You Suspect Negligence

If you suspect that a nursing home resident may be suffering from a malnutrition or dehydration issue, you should first discuss your concerns with the nursing home staff to ascertain whether proper procedures and monitoring are in effect to prevent these issues and request that additional efforts be made to handle the problem. If feasible, you should try and observe what goes on during meal or snack times to see if there appears to be a problem. In some cases, it may be advisable to have the resident’s doctor do an examination to try and determine if the symptoms are, in fact, due to malnutrition and/or dehydration. Finally if it appears that there may have been neglect or abuse resulting in conditions of malnutrition or dehydration, you or your loved one may be entitled to financial compensation from the persons or entities at fault for such things as medical bills,  emotional distress, pain, suffering and disability and other damages resulting from that neglect or abuse.

Call Lattof & Lattof today for a free consultation regarding your potential rights and to ask any questions you might have. These elderly residents are some of the most vulnerable and helpless individuals in our society and desperately need someone to protect them and to stand up for their rights. For over 65 years, the attorneys at Lattof & Lattof, P.C. have been helping victims of negligence and abuse protect their rights and obtain fair settlements and awards for injuries and for the deaths of their loved ones. We will work hard as your family’s advocate to protect the rights of nursing home abuse victims and to obtain full recompense for injuries and losses from those responsible for such abuse.

Remember that claims of this type usually have a certain time limitation within which you may take action, so it is important that you to a nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as you can so as to preserve your rights.