Malnutrition Cases at Knoxville Nursing Homes
Trusting the care and health of your loved one to a Knoxville nursing home is a difficult time for families. Nursing homes are long-term care communities with 24-7 nursing care, plus attendants who help residents with mobility and the tasks of daily living. Many Knox County nursing homes take pride in the excellent care that they provide for frail and medically compromised seniors. However, through mismanagement or poor staffing choices, some nursing homes create environments where seniors can be abused or neglected.
Nursing home residents are the most vulnerable and frail demographic in long-term care communities, and many of them cannot advocate for themselves. There are a few signs of malnutrition that you can look for when you visit your loved one in their Knoxville nursing home. If you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected, you should seek legal advice on how to protect them.What Is Malnutrition in Seniors?
Malnutrition mainly refers to a lack of adequate vitamins and minerals in foods and a lack of or imbalance of the three macronutrients: complex carbohydrates, healthy dietary fats, and protein. Malnutrition in the elderly results in a failure to thrive. For people who are in nursing homes to recover from a longtime illness or surgery or to manage complicated health conditions, malnutrition can make it difficult to heal.
Chronic malnutrition can also leave elderly people more susceptible to disease or illness. They may require hospitalization or have a slower recovery time from disease or injury. Over time, malnutrition can also lead to death.
Common indications of malnutrition in the elderly include:
- Feeling weak or especially tired
- Unplanned weight loss
- Eating only a small amount at a time
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling, or fluid accumulation in the limbs or abdomen
The effects of chronic malnutrition can hit Knoxville nursing home residents especially hard. Some health problems include:
- Slow healing of wounds, or wounds that don’t heal
- Increased risk of hospitalization
- Weakened immune system
- Muscle weakness and decreased bone mass, leaving frail seniors more vulnerable to falls
- Higher risk of death
Knox County long-term nursing facilities ensure that residents have tasty, nutritious meals. Some individuals may need specialized meals, including diabetic-friendly, low-salt, Kosher, or vegetarian. Many nursing home residents may have difficulty feeding themselves, so feeding tube monitoring is part of the service. To ensure that residents are being fed and hydrated, many nursing homes require staff members to log when, what, and how much each patient eats.
Unfortunately, short staffing and poorly trained staff are not uncommon in Knox County nursing homes. Some staff members may not realize the challenges that seniors face with eating. People who suffer from bowel disease, dementia, or oral cancers have difficulty getting the right amount of food. Lack of record-keeping to ensure that each patient receives proper nutrition leads to malnutrition by neglect. Other times, staff members may use food as a tool to control patient behavior and withhold meals from difficult patients.
These situations of neglect and direct abuse are against the law in Tennessee. You have options if you note that your loved one is suffering from malnutrition in their Knoxville nursing home. A personal injury lawyer, like Jams Higgins, who specializes in nursing home abuse and neglect cases can help protect your loved ones and recover damages from the facility that harmed them.How Can a Nursing Home Lawyer Help Me?
Nursing homes are licensed and regulated by the Tennessee Department of Health, which has a comprehensive set of regulations designed to protect nursing home residents. When you have a nursing home lawyer on your side, you have someone familiar with which statutes have been violated and what your options are.
Nursing home lawyers can also help your loved one with placement in a better facility. They may recover damages from the nursing home that was responsible for the abuse, which you and your family can use to place them in a better place. You can also use these damages for your loved one’s medical care, including specialty care to recover from malnutrition.Call the Higgins Firm Today!
The Higgins Firm is a team of professionals experienced with helping families who have been affected by poor care, neglect, and abuse in Knox County nursing homes. If your loved one suffered from malnutrition while in a Knoxville nursing home, you may have a case for nursing home abuse. Give us a call today for a FREE personalized consultation for your Knoxville nursing home malnutrition case.