Is Your Elder Loved One Getting Healthy, Nutritious Meals?
It seems so little to ask that seniors in Kentucky nursing homes and adult living facilities simply get enough of the right foods to stay healthy and feel good. But the stark reality is that an estimated one out of three nursing home residents is malnourished or dehydrated, and up to half of all nursing home residents are underweight.
At Gladstein Law Firm, we want you to know that it is simply against federal law for your senior loved one to be malnourished and underfed while under the care of a nursing home. Specifically, the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 requires that senior care centers meet the nutritional needs of all of their residents.
If your elder loved one has been harmed by malnourishment in a nursing home environment, you should speak to a Kentucky nursing home negligence attorney today about a possible claim. Call (800) 991-0474 to schedule a free, private consultation today.
How Does Nursing Home Malnutrition Happen?
There are many different reasons that nursing home residents don’t get enough to eat or get enough nutrients, but the central reason is simply that an estimated 50 percent of all long-term care facility residents in the U.S. need help with eating, with 25 percent of residents completely dependent on others for their meals. Because so many residents need one-on-one assistance during meals, nursing homes have a huge responsibility to make certain that each person is getting enough good food to stay mentally and physically healthy.
Nursing home malnutrition often happens due to:
- Nursing home understaffing. A certified nursing assistant (CNA) is often asked to feed up to 15 people during a nursing home meal. If a nursing assistant is overworked, it is easy to see how some seniors can slip through the cracks, especially if they need to be carefully monitored and spoon-fed.
- Lack of staff training. Seniors have many different nutrition needs: Some may need to be spoon-fed, while others may require special supplements, foods, and feeding strategies. If the staff is not well-trained, both in feeding residents and in recognizing the signs of malnutrition, the residents pay dearly.
- Lack of nutritious meals or food. Sadly, some nursing homes with strapped budgets decide to make cuts when it comes to food and food preparation. The result is that seniors are faced with innutritious food (such as a lack of fresh fruits and vegetables), poorly prepared food, spoiled food, inedible food, or a simple lack of food.
- Nursing home abuse. The most heartbreaking and disgusting reason for malnutrition is nursing home abuse: When a resident is purposefully starved. This may happen because the home is using food as a reward or punishment for behavior – and it is absolutely unacceptable.
Seniors with a Greater Risk For Malnutrition
Some seniors are at a far higher risk for malnutrition than others. These are usually seniors who have dental issues (such as dentures) that require a diet of soft foods, or seniors who struggle with age-related mental illness that cause them to need assistance with eating and nutrition.
Seniors with a greater risk for malnutrition include those with:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Poor dental and oral hygiene
- Problems swallowing
- Neurological problems
It is important to understand that, even though these conditions may make nourishment more challenging, they are no excuse for malnourishment.
The Serious Consequences of Nursing Home Malnutrition
Not getting enough nutrients can be particularly critical for elderly people, due to their weakened immune system and body functions. A lack of calories, vitamins, protein, and fat can wreak havoc on seniors, agitating their existing health issues and causing new ones. The serious consequences of nursing home malnutrition include:
- Infections caused by a weakened immune system
- Confusion and memory loss
- Decreased organ function
- Decreased mobility
- Loss of muscle mass
Symptoms of Malnourishment
Do you believe that your elder loved one could be malnourished? Take a close look at some of the most common symptoms of nursing home malnourishment:
- Increased confusion
- Urinary tract infections
- Mouth sores
- Weight loss
- Lips that are cracked or dry
- Thinning or loss of hair
- Skin loses elasticity
- Excessive desire for food and water when family members are present to assist in feeding
Malnourishment can be verified by a doctor. If you believe that your loved one may not be getting the diet that he or she needs to be healthy, speak to a health care professional immediately.
Speak To An Experienced Kentucky Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
When you or a loved one has suffered from malnutrition while residing in a Kentucky long-term healthcare facility, it’s time to reach out for help. Contact Gladstein Law Firm today so that you can learn how to get help for your situation.
Seth Gladstein has extensive experience with nursing home abuse cases involving malnourishment. He will meet with you for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your claims and investigate the problem thoroughly. Call 502-855-4177 or 800-991-0474 today and get the help that you need and deserve.
*Each case is different and the past record is no assurance that we will be successful in reaching a favorable result in any future case. Client pays costs only upon recovery.