Nursing Home Malpractice: Malnutrition and Dehydration
Nursing homes should be comforting for seniors and their families. While people are already coping either with making the decision to place a family member in a nursing home or if someone is adjusting to their new lifestyle after moving into a facility themselves, they should not have to worry about the quality of care they are receiving. Unfortunately, thousands of people every year have to worry about just that.
Nursing Home Abuse Happens Every Day
Studies show that nursing home and elderly abuse is unfortunately commonplace. Reports estimate that 1 in 6 nursing home residents will be victims of neglect or abuse every year. Additionally, a congressional report found that 1 in 3 nursing home facilities had violations that lowered resident safety and quality of care. This is a serious concern, considering that studies have also found those who experience abuse have a 300% higher chance of death in the 3 years following that abuse. Over 75% of abuse is perpetrated by nursing caregivers.
Elder Abuse is Hard to Identify
Although all 50 states have laws against elder abuse, and nursing homes are required by federal law to uphold a standard of care, nursing home abuse persists. A study conducted by the General Accountability Office (GAO) found that a shocking 70% of state regulators will completely miss signs of abuse in nursing homes. This means that unless other people, mainly residents’ family members, are vigilant in identifying elder abuse, their loved one will continue to be abused.
Malnutrition and Dehydration as Forms of Neglect
One of the most common forms of neglect in nursing homes is malnutrition and dehydration. Up to 85% of nursing home residents are at risk of malnutrition. This is often the result of staff either forgetting to provide adequate food and water to residents, or because the nursing home itself is not following proper nutrition guides. Tragically, one study showed that only 19% of malnutrition cases were caught by medical professionals. This failure to recognize signs of neglect is an injustice against the nursing home resident and their loved ones who have trusted the nursing home with their care. Given these findings, family members should be aware of the signs of malnutrition and dehydration to ensure their loved one remains healthy.
Symptoms of Malnutrition:
- Weight loss
- Dizziness or fatigue
- General declining health
- Muscle loss or weakness
- Oral issues such as canker sores, white patches in the cheeks or tongue, or excessive redness on the tongue
Symptoms of Dehydration:
- Dryness, either of the mouth or skin
- Low blood pressure
- Confusion or lowered mental state
- Weakness and fatigue
- Yellowing skin
How We Can Help
If you or a loved one has suffered at the hands of nursing home or assisted living staff, contact us today. At The Brothers Law Firm, we understand your pain and frustration during this time of need and are committed to pursuing justice for you and your family. We have represented numerous clients who have suffered serious health problems and even death as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect. We can help you understand your legal rights and determine the best options possible to ensure you and your family get the help you need. To get started, fill out our online form to request a free consultation or call us at 281-491-3635.