Nursing homes are responsible for overseeing their residents’ needs, including making sure they are properly eating. But this often does not happen, resulting in malnutrition. Malnutrition is typically an indication of nursing home negligence and can lead to health complications and even death. If you have a loved one in a Georgia nursing home facility, and you suspect malnutrition, contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney. We hold irresponsible nursing homes accountable for their actions and demand the justice victims deserve.
What Are Common Signs of Malnutrition in Nursing Homes?
The dietary needs of people change as they get older. If those needs are not properly met, someone could become malnourished. Malnutrition is defined by insufficient nutrient or energy intake. Weight loss, including loss of fat and muscle mass, is a common feature. Other signs may include fluid accumulation and decreased functional ability. Still other indications are:
- Hollow cheeks
- Sunken eyes
- Concentration difficulty
- Weakened immune system
All of these can have severe physical consequences or aggravate already existing conditions. Not getting enough to eat can result in deficiencies of key nutrients like vitamin A, zinc, and iron. These, in turn, may lead to further problems. For example, iron deficiency can make it difficult to regulate body temperature. Not getting enough vitamin A puts the patient at risk of infection.
Weakened muscles may make a nursing home patient more prone to slips and falls. Injuries will heal more slowly as well. But not all signs are readily apparent. Health risks from malnutrition can take time to develop. By the time they are noticed it may be too late.
What Causes Malnutrition in Nursing Homes?
Older individuals are already vulnerable to many health problems. They need stable, healthy diets to ensure they are in their best condition. That is why it is particularly unacceptable for a nursing home facility to allow residents to be malnourished. Some of the reasons that Georgia nursing home residents don’t get the nutrition they require include:
Failure to Properly Assess Residents’ Needs
A responsible nursing home will create a plan to care for patients, which includes attention to their diets. Some residents have special dietary or vitamin needs that need to be taken into consideration.
Overworked and Irresponsible Staff
Even the best care plans are useless if they are not followed. Unfortunately, many nursing home staff members are overworked to the point that they don’t pay attention to their patients’ needs. Others are negligent in their duties.
Not Supervising Residents
Some facilities have to remind patients to eat, and that could require the active supervision of those patients. This is especially true for residents who have difficulty eating on their own and therefore need assistance.
The particular facts of every malnutrition case will indicate whether the condition is the result of negligence. Georgia nursing home staff and healthcare professionals should be properly trained to care for residents. They should also know the signs of malnutrition and what steps can be taken to correct it. Not every case of malnutrition can be avoided. But Georgia law obligates caregivers to take reasonable steps which will prevent these incidents from occurring. When the nursing home fails at its duties, residents suffer.
Residents who are harmed by nursing home neglect may experience significant health complications and medical bills. They may also undergo pain and suffering because of the effects of their malnutrition. In extreme cases, they can die from malnutrition, and their families may have claims for wrongful death.
TURN TO US IF YOU SUSPECT MALNUTRITION IN A GEORGIA NURSING HOME
It is important for you to report incidents of malnutrition to Georgia nursing home staff. Pay attention to any indications that a loved one is being abused, and immediately seek legal counsel. Schneider Hammers is experienced with nursing home neglect and abuse cases. We fight to make sure negligent nursing homes pay for the injuries they cause. Reach out to our personal injury lawyers in Atlanta today to discuss your case.