When we decide to place a loved one in a nursing home, we are usually concerned that it will be a positive transition for him or her. We may assume that since we are paying high fees for nursing home care that neglect or abuse are less likely to occur. Despite the high cost of nursing home care, abuse remains a prevalent issue that negatively impacts millions of elderly patients every year. Those who are unable to care for themselves depend on nursing home workers for their daily meals, hydration, bathing, dressing and other aspects of daily life.
Chicago Nursing Home Attorneys for Malnourished Patients
Malnutrition is a subtle form of elder abuse that can go unnoticed for extended period of time. It is vital that family members consider any red flags that a nursing home may have failed to care for its residents in the past. The best way to prevent malnutrition is by enrolling residents in a care facility that has a track record for providing excellent care and keeping close tabs on loved ones identify any nutritional deficiencies as soon as feasible.
Malnutrition of Nursing Home Patients is a Real Threat to Patients’ Health & Safety
When nursing home patients do not receive enough calories and vitamins, their body automatically goes into survival mode and draws upon reserves in the body. While this is a ‘natural’ reaction when there is inadequate nutritional intake, malnutrition ultimately disrupts systemic function. By law, nursing homes must create a specifically tailored plan of care for each patient to address each patients physical and emotional needs. Part of this ‘care plan’ addresses the nutritional requirements for each patient and may specifically address dietary requirements for patients with special needs or disabilities.
Similarly, nursing homes are to weigh patients at regular intervals to determine when patients are gaining or losing weight. When a weigh-in determines that a patient is losing weight, the facility has a responsibility to notify the patient’s physician and or family to address how modifications can be made.
The Need to Train Nursing Home Staff About the Dangers of Malnutrition
Nursing home staff have a responsibility to pay attention to whether any patients are not consuming food for other reasons. Elderly people may suffer from body image issues and choose not to eat for that reason. A patient may have dental issues that prevent him or her from being able to consume food. Some patients may feel a lack of hunger on a regular basis due to their medications, and they may refuse to eat for that reason. Yet, in other situations, patients may physically be unable to feed themselves. In either context, nursing home workers must be properly trained to deal with these issues and ensure that patients somehow receive the nutrients that they need.
Staff shortages often lead to neglect of patients that results in malnutrition. There may even be staff shortages in the kitchen of a nursing home, and this can contribute to malnutrition levels. Workers may prepare food that is unsavory or inadequately prepared for patients. Patients may feel degraded by the types of food that are offered to them, and they may refuse to eat it. It is important for nursing homes to be careful when they are hiring new individuals. Nursing homes must hire qualified individuals for positions, whether it is for nursing care administration or for food preparation in the kitchen.
Signs of Undernourishment in Nursing Home Residents
Nursing home workers should also be trained to be aware of signs of malnutrition of nursing home patient. Nursing home workers must be able to recognize signs of malnutrition and take appropriate steps to remedy it within patients. If malnutrition is not remedied, then patients can suffer from serious medical complications or death. Here are some of the signs that one is suffering from malnutrition:
- Rapid or gradual weight loss
- Tooth decay
- Bleeding gums
- Memory loss
- Muscle decline
- Decreased organ function
- Muscle loss
- Fragile bones / unexplained fractures
If patients have suffered from any of these signs of malnutrition, then it is vital that action be taken to help the patient. Family members should also try to take action to help a loved one if they suspect that he or she is suffering from malnutrition. Family members may report abuse to the authorities or may take the loved one out of the nursing home.Getting Help For The Malnutrition Of A Loved One In An Illinois Nursing Home From Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers
If you need help and suspect that a loved one is suffering from malnutrition or has sustained a drastic weight loss during a nursing home admission, the Illinois nursing home attorneys at our law firm are available to help you. Our lawyers can help you move forward and provide answers to how your loved one suffered from malnutrition during their admission. We have successfully prosecuted nursing home negligence cases involving patient malnutrition and injury-- and even death.
Our office has established relationships with experts in the fields of skilled nursing care and nutritionists and dieticians who we can use to help evaluation your situation. We invite you to contact us to discuss your circumstance with an attorney without cost or obligation on your end. 888-424-5757