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Nursing Home Neglect in the Form of Malnutrition and Dehydration
Nursing home neglect can lead to malnutrition and dehydration. Underlying factors are the physical or mental conditions that nursing home residents often have, which make eating or drinking fluids difficult. Elderly residents may be physically incapable of feeding themselves or have dementia and forget to eat or drink fluids. Nursing homes are responsible for ensuring the proper monitoring and care of residents that is vital for preventing malnutrition or dehydration.
The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987
Problems with nursing home care were severe enough in 1987 that the federal government passed the Nursing Home Reform Act. The act resulted in improved training of nursing home staff and improved assessment for plans of care for nursing home residents.
The federal law set standards that required nursing homes to assess the nutritional status of residents upon admission and then regularly reassess them every three months.
Despite the law, studies reveal that 40 percent of nursing home residents still suffer from malnutrition.
Why Preventing Malnutrition and Dehydration Is Vital
Malnutrition and dehydration can cause severe health complications, including infection, weight loss and mental confusion. Dehydration, if severe enough, can result in death. When a resident's health is compromised by poor diets or lack of fluids, their quality of life diminishes significantly.
Responsibilities of Nursing Home Facilities
Nursing homes have the responsibility of ensuring residents receive well-balanced and palatable meals. When a resident refuses food, staff members must offer substitutes. Some residents require individualized care, such as special diets and assistance with eating. Staff should be educated about ways to assist eating through proper positioning, by providing appetizing meals that are not served cold and by creating dining room environments that are pleasant and not chaotic.
Residents, who do not get adequate exercise or fresh air, often lose their appetites. It is the staff’s responsibility to meet their needs in this way as well.
When nursing homes fail to hire enough staff to provide standard care, they put many residents at risk. In addition, when staff members lack proper training, they often neglect or abuse residents.
What Can You Do About Your Loved One’s Nursing Home Care?
If care is substandard, you can bring it to the attention of the nursing home staff and management. Share your observations and ask for a care planning conference.
Get Legal Help from Skilled Nursing Home Neglect Attorneys
If you have made efforts to correct substandard care, and nursing home conditions do not improve, and if your loved one is losing weight or showing other signs of serious neglect, arrange for a free consultation and speak with a knowledgeable nursing home neglect lawyer.
At Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP, we offer a free initial consultation to discuss the injury and legal options that are available.
Call us toll free at 888.519.6400, or contact us in Garden City at 516.248.2234, or in Flushing-Queens, Brooklyn or the Bronx at 718.539.3100. You can also fill in our contact form, and we will get in touch with you.