Malnutrition and DehydrationMalnutrition and Dehydration in Nursing Homes

Nursing home residents rely on assisted living facilities to provide for their basic needs, including access to nutritious meals and fluids. If these needs are not met, residents can suffer from dehydration and malnutrition.

If your loved one living in a nursing home has suffered the effects of malnutrition or dehydration, contact a Savannah nursing home abuse attorney today to investigate your claim. The trusted lawyers at Roden Law have years of experience investigating cases just like yours. We have helped our clients obtain millions of dollars in compensation for what they have endured, and we can apply that experience to your case.

We work on contingency, which means that we do not get paid unless we are able to help your loved one recover compensation for the harm caused by the nursing facility. We charge no upfront fees and there is no obligation, so there is no risk to you to talk to us. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

Call 1-844-RESULTS to schedule your free consultation with a successful attorney at Roden Law.

Nursing Homes’ Duty to Residents

One of the basic rights of nursing home residents is to receive adequate nutrition and hydration. To ensure this is done properly, there are federal rules that outline requirements for nursing home residents’ nutrition.

Section 483.60 of the State Operations Manual from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – which regulates nursing homes that receive federal funding – requires that facilities "provide each resident with a nourishing, palatable, well-balanced diet that meets his or her daily nutritional and special dietary needs, taking into consideration the preferences of each resident."

This requires that facilities make a reasonable effort to provide residents choices of meals and diets that meet their needs. They must also receive enough fluids to maintain proper hydration. The needs of each resident must be regularly assessed so that his or her care plan can be adjusted as necessary. 

Each resident must receive at least three meals each day offered at regular meal times or according to the resident’s requests or care plan. There cannot be more than 14 hours between the third meal one day and the first meal the following day unless a nourishing snack is served at bedtime.

Facilities must also have the appropriate staff on hand to handle the nutritional needs of residents, which includes a registered dietitian or other clinically qualified nutrition professional and enough staff with the necessary qualifications for the number of residents in the facility.

Any failure of nursing homes to follow these rules and other regulations regarding food and nutrition can lead to serious harm to nursing home residents for which the facility could be held liable. If you believe your loved one was harmed because of a violation of these regulations, do not hesitate to contact Roden Law for a free consultation.

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Malnutrition Symptoms

In addition to providing residents with nutritious food, nursing home facilities must ensure that the residents are consuming the appropriate amount of nutrients. This includes assisting residents who need help eating or drinking. If a resident is not eating or drinking because he or she does not like the taste of a food or drink, the facility must attempt to provide other options the resident may like better.

If a resident is not consuming enough food and drink, the staff must be alert for any signs of malnutrition, which can include:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Feeling cold or having the chills
  • Bruising easily
  • Fatigue and lower-than-normal energy
  • Reduced mental sharpness
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Wounds healing slowly
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Increase in infections
  • Constantly sad mood

If these signs develop, the facility must take steps to return the resident to a healthy condition. One way to do this is to supplement the resident’s diet with nutritional drinks. These drinks are specially formulated to provide large quantities of protein and calories, which will help prevent the resident from losing weight and will give the resident more energy. In some cases, a feeding tube may be necessary.

However, if the facility fails to properly address the signs of malnutrition, it may be a sign of nursing home neglect. Our caring attorneys at Roden Law can review your case and determine whether you have a valid claim. If so, we will fight for your loved one’s right to compensation for what he or she has suffered.

Fill out our Free Case Evaluation form today to have a nursing home abuse lawyer review your claim.

Dehydration Symptoms

Nursing facilities must also make sure residents are drinking enough water or other nourishing liquids. If a resident is not drinking enough water or juices, the nursing staff must try serving soups and shakes to the resident. Otherwise, he or she can become dehydrated.

Some of the most common symptoms of dehydration in elderly people include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Dry skin
  • Dental problems
  • Sunken eyes
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Fast breathing
  • Fainting

If you are seeing dehydration symptoms in your loved one who is living in a nursing home, contact the successful attorneys at Roden Law. We help our clients obtain compensation for what they have suffered.

There is no obligation on your part, so do not wait to contact us to evaluate your case. A member of our caring legal team is ready to schedule your free consultation with a nursing home attorney.

Schedule a free consultation with an experienced attorney by calling 1-844-RESULTS.

Causes of Malnutrition and Dehydration Among Nursing Home Residents

A person may experience malnutrition and dehydration if he or she does not consume plenty of:

  • Calories
  • Carbohydrates
  • Proteins
  • Fats
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Liquids

Insufficient consumption of food and liquids is common among nursing home residents, especially those who have:

  • Dementia or Alzheimer’s
  • Brain disorders or tumors
  • Mental health problems
  • Swallowing problems
  • Improperly fitting dentures
  • Problems tasting food
  • Problems with smell
  • Limited mobility
  • A medically restricted diet
  • Pain while eating or drinking

However, despite a resident’s problems with consuming food and liquids, nursing homes have a duty to make sure the resident consumes the calories and nutrients he or she needs. If residents cannot consume the food by themselves, the facility should provide staff to help or alternatives should be offered.

Any failure to ensure the resident receives and consumes the right nutritional food could be considered neglect or abuse for which the facility could be held liable. This includes situations when a nursing home’s staff is not:

  • Properly trained about malnutrition and dehydration
  • Providing enough nutritious food and drink
  • Paying attention to a resident’s intake of food and liquids
  • Monitoring medications that can cause dehydration
  • Helping residents eat and drink as needed
  • Providing food that tastes good
  • Serving food that is properly cooked

If the nursing home is not addressing the resident’s malnutrition or dehydration symptoms and not showing enough care and attention to the resident, contact Roden Law to investigate your claim. You may have a case of nursing home neglect, and your loved one may be entitled to compensation.

Complete a free case review form today to have a nursing home lawyer evaluate your claim.

Consequences of Malnutrition

Everyone’s body requires a daily intake of nutritious food and liquids for basic survival, and the body begins to break down if it does not receive adequate nutrients and calories. This can lead to serious, and often permanent, injuries.

One injury that is often associated with malnutrition and dehydration is bedsores. These can occur on the bony portions of a resident’s body if he or she has lost considerable weight. Although bedsores can usually heal with the appropriate care, they can also lead to deadly consequences if the sores are not properly treated.

Some other consequences of malnutrition and dehydration can include:

  • Decreased immune function
  • Infections
  • Less muscle mass
  • Less tissue mass
  • Low body temperature
  • Constantly feeling tired
  • Organ failure
  • Death

According to the World Food Programme, a division of the United Nations, the effects of malnutrition on a person’s body depend on what nutrients are missing from his or her diet. One of the most common types of malnutrition is a lack of protein consumption, which can result in reduced energy and muscle function.

If you have observed your loved one declining in health because of malnutrition or dehydration, and you believe the nursing home is neglecting his or her needs, contact Roden Law for a free evaluation. We will investigate your case and determine whether the nursing facility owes compensation to your loved one for what he or she has endured.

Fill out our Free Case Evaluation form today to get started.

Contact Roden Law for Help

It is a nursing home’s legal duty to ensure every resident is eating and drinking enough for proper nutrition and optimum health. If a nursing home resident is not eating his or her meals or drinking enough fluids, and the management of the nursing facility is not taking action to help correct the problem, the resident may have a case of neglect against the nursing home.

The qualified personal injury attorneys at Roden Law have years of experience helping our clients obtain maximum compensation for what they have suffered. We may be able to help your loved one recover compensation for his or her injuries resulting from the effects of malnutrition or dehydration.

We charge no upfront costs, and we offer a free consultation. Contact us today to see how we might help your loved one recover compensation and justice.

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