Malnutrition and dehydration in care facilities is, unfortunately, a common problem and can be a sign of nursing home negligence and neglect. Recent studies cited by the National Institute of Health note that approximately 20% of nursing home residents had some form of malnutrition. Other studies put the figures much higher with more than half of the residents experiencing some form of malnutrition.
How Does Malnutrition Happen in a Nursing Home?
Anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of nursing home residents suffer from a swallowing disorder (dysphagia) due to dementia, stroke, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders. Because of this or other medical conditions, nursing home residents may not get enough to eat and/or not enough nutritious food to eat. Cognitive conditions may prevent a nursing home resident from remembering to eat or remembering to eat enough food.
Signs of Malnutrition
When left untreated, malnutrition and dehydration can have serious consequences. Every nursing home patient deserves to be treated with compassion and respect. Watch for these signs of malnutrition in your loved one:
- Slow healing wounds
- Unexplained weight loss
- Loose-fitting clothing
- Cognitive issues
- Muscle weakness
- Skin changes, especially increased bruising
- Swollen and/or bleeding gums
- Tiredness and fatigue
Because many nursing home residents may have other health conditions or cognitive cognitive disorders, malnutrition should be a large concern for the nursing home management and staff.
Nutrition and Nursing Home Care
Nursing homes have a legal obligation to protect and care for their residents. When they fail to follow safety guidelines, laws and other regulations and that failure creates injury, they can be sued for personal injury or even wrongful death. Nursing homes must maintain proper staffing levels and ensure the staff is trained to deal with the unique issues of malnutrition in nursing homes.
Understaffed nursing homes are a key reason for nursing home neglect because of the serious health risks and vulnerability it creates for patients. Understaffed facilities may have problems feeding and giving medications to all of the residents on a routine schedule. This can lead to malnutrition, deficiencies in nutrition and other problems arising out of not getting their medications on schedule.
Understaffing and poor training are sadly not uncommon issues. In fact, federal research indicates that as many as 90% of nursing homes in this country are understaffed. Starting February 1, 2021, New Jersey nursing homes must abide by stricter rules around staffing which require certain ratios of CNAs to residents during different periods of the day and night.
Nursing Home Negligence Attorney
The symptoms of malnutrition can be a sign of nursing home negligence. Don’t wait to act if your loved one is experiencing neglect or abuse in their care facility. Our New Jersey nursing home abuse attorneys can explain your legal options, investigate your case, and help you file a claim. Don’t let injustices against your loved ones continue. Contact us today for a free consultation.