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Malnutrition

Malnutrition is a Prevalent Form of  Nursing Home Neglect

Malnutrition is a common ailment among nursing home residents.  Dehydration and malnutrition are frequently the result of elder neglect.

Studies show that 40% of nursing home residents are malnourished.  Unfortunately, improper nutrition among elders often lead to serious health problems such as infections, muscle degradation and confusion.  It can also weaken the elder’s immunity.  Elders in nursing homes are especially at risk for undernourishment because they are unable to feed themselves and often cannot remember if or when they last ate.

Therefore, it is the responsibility of the nursing home and its staff to carefully monitor their residents’ food intake, but due to understaffing and inadequate training, malnutrition is a prevalent problem in nursing homes today.

How to Treat a Patient Suffering from Malnutrition

Prevention is the best “treatment,” so nursing homes must monitor and administer proper amounts of vitamins, minerals, proteins and calories to their patients depending on their individual nutritional needs.

If you do find that your loved one is malnourished, share what you have found with the nursing facility and staff.  Be sure to monitor your loved one’s progress to make sure that he or she is receiving proper care.  The nursing home should treat the patient by replenishing the elder’s body with proper minerals, vitamins, calories and proteins that caused his or her malnourishment.  If the patient is in an advanced stage of malnourishment, medical care should be given.

Also, contact your local ombudsman.  You can call their Crisis line at 1-800-231-4024 or visit the California Department of Aging for a list of county ombudsman phone numbers in California.

You should also contact Adult Protective Services.  A list of Adult Protective Services’ contact information organized by California counties is provided here.

What Causes Malnutrition?

Malnutrition occurs when the resident is deprived of essential minerals, vitamins, proteins and calories according to his or her specific dietary needs.  Physical, psychological and environmental causes can lead to malnutrition.

Physical and psychological causes can include: depression and loneliness; swallowing disorders; illness; and problems relating to the teeth or mouth which affect the residents’ ability to feed themselves.  It is the nursing facilities’ responsibility to identify if there is a physical or psychological condition that is affecting nutrition intake and then develop a care plan to address it.

Environmental causes include insufficient attention from nursing staff members during the patient’s meal time, staff members who are unaware of the patient’s dietary restrictions or needs, special diets and reliance on liquid supplements.  It can also result from lack of individualized care, whereby the residents lose their appetite due to lack of exercise, exposure to fresh air or mental stimulation.

Contact York Law Firm

If your loved one presents symptoms of malnourishment, it is imperative that you enlist the assistance of an experienced elder abuse attorney.  York Law Firm consists of several experienced attorneys who know your legal rights and will work tirelessly in pursuit of the compensation which you deserve.  Contact our law firm today to schedule a case evaluation.

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