Malnutrition & Dehydration

What Are Some Hidden Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?

Many people may think if you cannot see signs of abuse or neglect it may not actually be happening. This is not true. Some of the most dangerous and deadliest signs of nursing home abuse or neglect may be hidden. Two of the main hidden signs of nursing home abuse and neglect are malnutrition and dehydration of a resident.

Why Is Malnutrition Considered Abuse or Neglect?

Many elderly individuals go into nursing homes with their loved ones thinking they will have all their needs met. These needs include the basic need of proper nutrition. Often, elderly residents need more than simply a tray of food put in front of them. As people age and need more assistance, proper nutrition is essential. Malnutrition may occur in elderly people for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to:

  • Decreased sense of taste
  • Medications interfering with food tastes
  • Teeth or denture problems
  • Depression
  • Dementia
  • Memory loss

Some residents simply may not be hungry or forgot to eat; but, whatever the reason, this does not give the nursing home the right to neglect their basic need to proper daily nutrition. It only takes a short time to ensure residents are properly fed. The burden is on the nursing home to ensure its residents receive proper nutrition. However, many nursing homes fail to provide a comprehensive nutritional plan for their residents and complain about being understaffed or overworked.

Malnutrition not only results from missing a meal or two, but it also occurs because our bodies need a certain amount of protein, vitamins, and minerals each day. Not getting a proper balanced diet can result in medical problems such as:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Anemia
  • Cachexia (i.e. the body eating its own tissue)

These conditions can lead to serious health problems, hospitalization, and in some cases even death of a resident. This makes malnutrition one of the most crucial issues in many nursing home cases. It is very important that it be reported and addressed immediately.

Why Dehydration Is Considered Abuse or Neglect?

Our body is mostly made of water, and we all need it to live healthy lives. Proper hydration is generally easy to provide. However, certain medications and conditions raise the chances of dehydration. The nursing home staff should be aware of all conditions and medications of each resident to prevent dehydration. Dehydration becomes exponentially more dangerous as residents lose weight. For this reason, nutrition and hydration go hand in hand. If dehydration occurs, medical problems can occur such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Sweating
  • Loss of fluid from medications
  • Internal bleeding
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Loss of mental abilities
  • Pressure sores (i.e. bed sores)
  • Immune system problems
  • Death
What Can I Do If I Suspect Malnutrition or Dehydration of a Loved One in a Nursing Home?

First, you should seek medical attention for your loved one right away. Keep or gather any evidence of malnutrition or dehydration abuse. Finally, we advise you to contact us at The Higgins Firm. Our caring and experienced attorneys will make sure that you and your loved one get the care you deserve and are well compensated for any injury. Most nursing home abuse occurs because there is not enough staff or because the nursing homes put profits before proper patient care. At The Higgins Firm, we are working to help stop this problem for you and your loved ones.

If you suspect that your loved one has suffered from nursing home abuse and neglect, please, contact our Memphis or Nashville, TN nursing home abuse lawyers.