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Dehydration and Malnutrition: A Serious Problem in Nursing Homes

February 3, 2015 | Category: Nursing Home Neglect/Abuse | Share

Families often struggle with the thought of having to send their loved one to a nursing home. While many would love to be able to care for their family member, doing so is often impractical or impossible. Accordingly, families turn to area nursing homes with the hope that they will provide their loved one with the proper care and support needed. However, Ft. Myers personal injury attorneys like Randall Spivey know that although we expect our loved ones to be treated lovingly and kept safe during their nursing home stay, there is always the possibility that nursing home abuse will occur.

Nursing home residents can be harmed and/or injured in a variety of ways, many of which are physical and some of which are mental and financial. One type of abuse that, unfortunately, is becoming more common is dehydration and malnutrition. In fact, the National Center on Elder Abuse lists dehydration and malnutrition as a form of neglect. Many nursing home residents have died as a result of malnutrition and dehydration, making it one of the most common forms of nursing home abuse in the U.S.

What is Expected of Nursing Homes?

Anyone who places a loved one in a nursing home’s care expects no less than exceptional treatment and attention. Sadly, some caretakers fail to provide nursing home residents with just the basics, such as food, water and medication. Many lawsuits have been filed against nursing homes and their workers for failing to help residents who needed assistance with eating and/or drinking, treat those who were suffering from malnutrition and/or dehydration, and provide adequate water and food on a routine basis.

If you or someone you love has been subjected to such harsh treatment and has sustained injuries because of it, you are encouraged to seek legal counsel from a well-versed personal injury lawyer who can further advise you of your legal rights.

Warning Signs

If you ever suspect your loved one may be suffering from dehydration and/or malnutrition, contact a physician as soon as possible. It is always better to be safe than sorry. There are a few common symptoms individuals can look for with respect to possible malnutrition and dehydration.

For example, if the nursing home resident experiences an unusual loss of energy, dry skin, stiff hair, increased irritability and significant weight loss, he or she may be suffering from malnutrition.

With respect to dehydration, some of the signs include extreme dry mouth, lightheadedness, dizziness, lack of sweat, low blood pressure and a decreased output of urine, just to name a few.

What is important for families to keep in mind is both malnutrition and dehydration are life-threatening illnesses that can lead to a person’s inability to fight off infections and ultimately, death. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) note hundreds of nursing home facilities are cited yearly for inappropriate and improper feeding methods that result in life-threatening ailments.

If you are a nursing home resident, or if you have placed a loved one in a nursing home facility, and you have questions or concerns about the level of care being provided, contact an attorney at the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. right away for assistance.

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