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Malnutrition, Dehydration Common Problems in Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are responsible for the care of our loved ones, yet sometimes they fail to provide even the most basic of necessities. Some of the most common signs of nursing home neglect include malnutrition and dehydration. Both of these problems can be serious and may pose a medical threat if not properly treated. Nursing homes are required to provide proper care and when they don’t they could be responsible for any medical problems as a result.

Malnutrition

Malnutrition can lead to a higher incidence of illness and may lead to death. Malnutrition may be especially prevalent among senior citizens who may have many reasons for their reduced caloric intake. Older individuals may not have a good appetite because of medications they are taking. Dental problems or irritations with dentures could cause people to eat less. Depression can also be a factor when someone simply does not care about food. Residents in nursing homes need to be monitored to ensure they are eating enough.

Dehydration

Dehydration is another serious concern among the elderly. People require proper liquid intake throughout the day to ensure that their cells function properly. Those in nursing homes are very likely to suffer from dehydration if their fluid intake is not supervised. Older people may not feel thirsty and may simply not remember to drink an adequate amount of water. The result can be headaches, fatigue, body aches, and disorientation. Many other illnesses produce similar symptoms so it is important to have the patient examined by a physician to determine the problem.

Special Dietary Needs

Some nursing home residents have special dietary needs that must be followed in order to ensure optimal health. Sometimes a nursing home does not comply with the dietary needs of a patient and this can cause medical problems. If a resident has special requirements their doctor should provide them to the nursing home manager. The facility must do what is necessary to fulfill the needs of each resident. For example, some people may need to eat a diet of only soft foods. Non-compliance could mean that the patient gets a tray of regular food, which he cannot eat.

Treatment

Both malnutrition and dehydration are serious health concerns. The patient may require a hospital stay to become adequately rehydrated. The resident may need to be given additional nutritional supplements or beverages that will add calories and nutrition to the diet. Nursing home staff must take special care to make certain that the resident is eating all of the food provided. If help eating is needed it should be provided. The staff must supervise and monitor both the food and liquid intake of the resident. Additionally, the resident should be seen by a doctor immediately upon noticing any difficulty. This can prevent a more serious condition. Failure to provide proper nutrition or hydration may be considered neglectful care.

If your loved one was neglected in a nursing home and suffered from malnutrition or dehydration, contact the legal team at Levin & Perconti to discuss your case.

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