Malnutrition and Dehydration in Assisted Living Facilities
Our Atlanta Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Can Help
If you or your loved one enters into a nursing home, you are putting your trust in the facility and its staff for proper care. Unfortunately, for-profit nursing homes frequently cut costs of quality food and nutrition programs, and a facility that is understaffed may overlook the signs of malnutrition and dehydration until it is too late. Our Atlanta nursing home abuse attorneys care deeply about vulnerable individuals who have been victims of malnutrition and dehydration due to nursing home elderly abuse and neglect.
Malnutrition and Dehydration Elder Abuse Statistics and Symptoms
Malnutrition and dehydration in the elderly population is often misdiagnosed and underreported; it is estimated that between 5 and 10 percent of nursing home residents are malnourished. This number is much greater in long-term care facilities for ill patients. Early warning signs and symptoms of malnutrition and dehydration include fever, irritability, confusion, dizziness, constipation, low urine output, sunken eyes, weight loss, swollen gums and tooth decay.
When elderly individuals fail to receive the proper amount of daily calories, water and nutrients, numerous serious medical conditions and catastrophic injuries can develop, including:
- Muscle weakness leading to falls
- Liver and kidney failure
- Heart weakness and failure
- Compromised immune systems and increased risks of infection
- Decreased lung capacity
- Intestinal problems and disorders, including distended abdomens
The staff at a nursing home may simply believe the person’s age or frailty may be causing the symptoms that are in fact due to malnutrition or dehydration and are treatable. If left undiagnosed, these medical conditions may lead to permanent disability and wrongful death.
Nursing Homes Must Ensure Adequate Nutrition and Hydration
Elderly individuals may have slight appetites and must be monitored on a daily basis to ensure they consume enough food and water to support their health. Facilities must prepare high quality, nutrient-rich food for its patients in enough quantities for all residents. Individuals who have difficulty eating or drinking must have adequate support staff helping them at meal times. An elderly individual is entitled to a gratifying quality of life during advanced age, and it is unacceptable for any residents to suffer from malnutrition or dehydration while in the care of a nursing home.
Nursing home neglect and abuse lawsuits are not only about receiving compensation under elder abuse law for injuries or wrongful death. Relatives must monitor their loved ones and vigilantly report elder abuse. Lawsuits charging facilities with malnutrition and dehydration will lead to better nursing home practices and policies to prevent harm to current and future residents. If you suspect your loved one is suffering, call an elderly abuse hotline and contact our Atlanta nursing home abuse lawyers to review the case and the legal options available.
For more information, contact Stephen D. Apolinsky, founder of Apolinsky & Associates, LLC., at 404-377-9191 or, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are licensed to practice law in Georgia and Alabama; however, we have a network of lawyers throughout the country.