Understanding Malnutrition & Dehydration

Elderly residents deserve the highest level of care and quality of life from a nursing facility. Seniors should be revered, not treated as second-class citizens. Unfortunately, several factors including poor staffing, lax supervision and carelessness can all lead to malnutrition, dehydration and other types of neglect.

We are committed to advocating for individuals who have suffered abuse or neglect that has led to malnutrition or dehydration. We understand the harsh reality that residents are at the mercy of their facility and their caregivers. We are committed to protecting the rights of nursing home abuse and neglect victims and the families of wrongful death victims.

Here are some warning signs that your loved one is not getting adequate nutrition:

  • Sunken eyes
  • Confusion or delirium
  • Dry skin
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Bloating
  • Reduced muscle density
  • Swollen or bleeding gums

Proper nutrition and appropriate fluids are the building blocks of healthy living. Without the right diet, serious and unfortunate consequences may arise.

Remember: care homes have an obligation to ensure their residents receive adequate food and drink. Malnutrition and dehydration are signs of serious neglect

Case Focus: Terrell

Although he entered the nursing home as a very sick person, Terrell was still entitled to the highest level of practicable care. This included proper nutrition, monitoring of his condition, and responsible documentation of his chart. Unfortunately, this did not occur, we alleged, and the result was a partial amputation of his leg.

The records showed, and this was corroborated with his surgeon, that the wounds to his leg were “gangrenous”, meaning that his condition was not properly cared for. We had to contend with the fact that he had pre-existing vascular disease, and that his health upon entering the facility was extremely poor, and that he did not want to assist with his care and treatment.

Our review of the records, with expert consultation, helped us demonstrate that he did not receive the care that he was legally entitled to receive. The counter argument is that his family did not permit the facility to provide proper nutrition and oversight. This was a very difficult argument to overcome, but we showed that there were gaps and flaws in the records kept by the nursing home.

Perhaps his amputation would not have been necessary, we argued, had the facility acted better. They argued even if we were correct, it would not have mattered. This was an interesting argument, but one that we believed was fatally flawed.

Simply put, we believed they simply dropped the ball. We believe that justice was achieved.

Settlement: $300,000.00

How Does Malnutrition and Dehydration Occur?

An alarming number of nursing home residents suffer from malnutrition and dehydration, despite the availability of food and liquids at their residences. Malnutrition can be caused by an insufficient or poorly balanced diet or by digestive problems that prevent the absorption of nutrients.

A study by Rudman and Feller estimates 50 to 85 percent of American nursing home patients are malnourished because they do not get enough calories or protein in their diets. Dehydration is the rapid loss of weight due to illnesses such as diarrhea, medication side effects or inadequate fluid intake.

Dehydration increases the risk of bedsores, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, decreased wound healing, confusion and disorientation, serious electrolyte disorders and death.

If you suspect your loved one is suffering from malnutrition or dehydration, our attorneys can evaluate the situation. We can determine if personnel failed to recognize, monitor or adjust your loved one’s diet. We can pursue suitable resolutions to cases involving:

  • Diabetes side effects
  • Organ failure
  • Shock
  • Coma
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Dementia
  • Death

Understaffing in nursing homes is a major contributor to malnutrition and dehydration. According to a study by the National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform, one certified nursing assistant (CNA) should be available during mealtimes to assist two to three residents who need help eating and drinking.

Remember: Providing a meal doesn’t mean a resident receives adequate nutrition. Many residents are physically or cognitively impaired and cannot feed themselves. Some must be encouraged to eat; others must be fed by a staff member.

Diligent Case Work

At Adams Law Firm, P.C., we understand that nursing home neglect or abuse can be difficult to pursue, as residents may be too scared to report it or too ill to notice it. Our dedicated lawyers conduct thorough background work to help determine and prove physical, mental and emotional abuse.

Our elder care attorneys have extensive experience handling cases involving negligence. We will investigate every aspect of your loved one’s situation. Their unique insights, combined with witness statements, can help demonstrate your loved one’s severe condition as well as prove liability.

We interview witnesses, including residents, family members and employees. We also consult with investigators and other experts, such as psychologists, psychiatrists and physicians. Their expert testimony can help illustrate the serious consequences of their treatment and prove liability. Additionally, we dig into the nursing home’s background to uncover other instances of abuse and showcase a pattern of neglect.

Attorneys with Adams Law Firm, P.C. understand the tough decision you had to make in order to place a loved one in a nursing home. You likely toured several facilities, asked countless questions and believed you selected the right home for your loved one.

Nursing homes are obligated to provide a specific standard of care and quality of life to their residents. Unfortunately, several factors including poor staffing, lax supervision and carelessness can all lead to senior citizen abuse and injuries.

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    Adams Law Firm, P.C

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