Somewhere between 35 to 85 percent of nursing home residents are malnourished, according to a study conducted by the Commonwealth Fund. There are no accurate statistics about the number of dehydrated residents in nursing homes, but one study of 40 elderly nursing home residents found that only one was properly hydrated.
If you suspect a nursing home resident may be suffering from malnutrition or dehydration, you have very solid ground for that belief.
Malnutrition has been linked to infections, bedsores (pressure ulcers), anemia, hypotension, cognitive problems, decreased healing and mortality. As the Commonwealth Fund report states, ”Malnutrition, dehydration, and weight loss in nursing homes constitute one of the largest, silent epidemics in this country.”
Malnutrition of the Elderly
Recognizing the signs of malnutrition and dehydration in the elderly is the first step toward resolving the problem. The signs of each are outlined below:
Signs of Malnutrition
- Thinning hair
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Greater difficulty overcoming infections and slowed wound healing
- Irritability and fatigue
Signs of Dehydration
- Dry skin and/or mouth
- Lethargy and inactivity
- Dark colored urine
- Increased thirst
- Swollen tongue
There may be many contributing factors to malnutrition and dehydration. Depression, dental issues, the effects of medications are just a few potential factors. However, it isn’t always clear what initiated the apparent cause. For example, a neglected or abused patient may exhibit depression that leads to malnutrition or dehydration.
Common causes for malnutrition in nursing homes include lack of individualized care, inadequate staffing, lack of mealtime supervision by professional staff and a lack of food choices. Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are frequently assigned to assist up to 15 residents at mealtime, but the recommended ratio is a maximum of three residents per CNA.
Whatever the contributing factors and causes may be, the staff of the nursing home have a duty to take whatever steps necessary to improve the situation. Consult and work with nursing home staff to make sure your loved one has his or her nutritional needs met. Resistance or refusal of nursing home staff is not acceptable, and that’s when escalation may be necessary.
Contact a New York Elder Abuse and Neglect Attorney
If you suspect your loved one isn’t receiving the care he or she deserves, contact an experienced elder abuse and neglect attorney today. It’s the best way to protect your loved one’s health and well-being.
The nursing home abuse attorneys at Banville Law can get the assistance you need by securing maximum compensation for medical expenses and suffering. We pursue every legal avenue for relief and see to it that your loved one gets the professional treatment that was promised and you deserve.
Call our team of experienced attorneys for a free consultation. You’ll be able to review your options and move forward at no cost to you. Call now before the situation gets worse.