Nursing homes should be trusted facilities where our loved ones can receive high quality care during old age. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Many problems plague patients in nursing homes, including malnutrition. Malnutrition is a common occurrence for elderly patients, and those living in nursing homes and assisted care facilities may be particularly susceptible. Failure to provide and ensure proper nutrition is a form of nursing home abuse and must be reported. Sometimes, the problem may go undetected for a long period of time. If your loved one has been harmed due to nursing home abuse, the experienced attorneys at Levin & Perconti will assist with your case.
Appetite can be a problem with older adults, especially those taking various medications. When the appetite is suppressed it can easily cause an elderly person to become malnourished. If the patient does not care for the food that is being served it could also cause them to develop improper eating habits. Many elderly people become depressed, which may also cause a decreased interest in food.
Medical conditions could also be the source of malnutrition. Some treatments, such as those often used for cancer patients, can cause a loss of appetite. Digestive disruptions could also cause the body to be unable to properly absorb nutrients. Problems with teeth or poorly fitted dentures could make it difficult to eat. Some patients may find it difficult to feed themselves and are hesitant to ask for assistance.
Signs of Malnutrition
There are various signs of malnutrition. The signs may not be noticed at first, but as the situation worsens, the warning signs become more evident. Some of the common signs of malnourishment include:
· Lack of appetite · Dehydration · Diminished energy · Lowered mental sharpness · Hair loss · Loss of body weight · Muscle weakness
When malnutrition is a concern, be sure to discuss the situation with the doctor, who will help to take actions to prevent malnourishment.
Avoiding Malnutrition in the Elderly
Sometimes it can be difficult to ensure that your loved one is eating properly and getting the nutrition necessary. It is essential to act quickly if you suspect malnutrition because it can have long-term devastating results. There are some things you can do to help make certain that nutritional needs are met. Discuss prescription medication side-effects with doctors and caregivers so they can be proactive in providing nutritional supplements if needed. Talk to the nursing home to get a list of food that is being served and ask that they take note of consumption. Check with the physician to add nutritional supplements to the diet or dietary drinks that provide added nutrients and calories to the daily diet.
Malnutrition May be Nursing Home Abuse
Malnutrition is a serious problem that could lead to medical problems and even death. If your loved one is in the care of a nursing home, the care facility is responsible for ensuring that the patient’s nutritional needs are being met. Malnutrition may be a sign of nursing home abuse. If your loved one has suffered because of malnourishment while in a nursing facility you need to talk to an attorney to discuss the best way to proceed. Contact the compassionate attorneys at Levin & Perconti today.
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