National statistics show that nursing home abuse and neglect are on the rise. Neglect and abuse can take many forms, some of which can be subtle and hard to detect until “bad things” start to happen. One of these “subtle” areas that the New Jersey nursing home negligence lawyers at Davis & Brusca, LLC see, is malnutrition.
As you know, proper nutrition is vital for good health. The need for proper nutritional support increases when we are sick or weakened. As such, it should come as no surprise that elderly residents in long term care facilities (a/k/a “nursing homes”) usually have weaker immune systems than younger people. This leaves them with a greater risk of infections and susceptibility to various illnesses. Nutrition is also critical to the body’s ability to heal from wounds and other injuries. These issues MUST be addressed through the facility’s plan for the resident (known as the “care plan”). Failure to do so is a form of neglect and may rise to the level of abuse depending on the severity of the situation.
Elderly persons systems are also less resilient than younger folks. As a result, when a nursing home resident does not receive proper nutrition, their risk of illness and death goes up, and their ability to recover and remain healthy goes down.
The reasons for malnutrition can usually be traced to improper or incomplete assessments of the resident’s needs. For instance, if they are sick or have wounds, they may need to have the protein levels in their diet increased and their caloric need may increase. The dietary plan should take their overall activity level into account, as more active folks may need more calories and a different mix of food types than a person who is bed-bound.
While a facility cannot “force” residents to eat, any particular resident’s desire to eat is affected by whether their food is appealing and palatable to them, and by whether or not the method of the food preparation is appropriate. Some seniors have difficulty chewing or swallowing food, and may require a special “soft” or pureed diet. The facility should take their personal preferences into account to ensure the resident wants to eat what is put in front of them.
If your elderly loved one is showing signs of malnutrition, contact our office today to find out how a New Jersey nursing home negligence lawyer can help. In the meantime, the following is a brief overview of nursing home malnutrition.
HOW DOES MALNUTRITION OCCUR:
When a person does not get the right kinds of food or not enough food, they will eventually suffer from malnutrition. One of the main causes of nursing home malnutrition is understaffing. Having enough staff is critical to providing proper care in a variety of ways, including nutritional support. When there are not enough aids or LPNs in the facility, it is difficult, if not impossible, to make sure that all residents are fed. It may also make it very difficult to identify and assess the warning signs of malnutrition in a timely basis. In short, when the staff is stretched too thin, some residents are invariably overlooked.
Some other reasons why a nursing home resident may develop malnutrition include:
SIGNS OF MALNUTRITION:
As nursing home neglect lawyers, we have seen examples of both physical and mental signs and symptoms in cases where nursing home residents are suffering from malnutrition. The physical signs and symptoms of malnutrition may include:
Cognitive symptoms associated with malnutrition may include changes to the person’s baseline mental status, such as:
There is no reason why a resident should suffer with malnutrition. As a nursing home injury lawyer NJ trusts, the lawyers at Davis & Brusca know that nursing homes have a legal responsibility to take care of the residents entrusted to their care. When they admit a resident to their facility, a nursing home should treat that person as though they were family.
Every nursing home should do the following:
Contact a New Jersey Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer for Help
If you believe your elderly loved one has been injured due to negligence of nursing home staff, contact Davis & Brusca, LLC today. We are proud to be the compassionate nursing home negligence lawyer New Jersey residents recommend. Our skilled nursing home lawyers are here to help you hold those responsible for your loved one’s injuries accountable.
Contact our office today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.