Malnutrition in Denver Nursing Homes
One of the many responsibilities that nursing home staff members have when caring for elderly residents is ensuring they receive and consume a balanced diet. Unfortunately, negligent nursing home care can lead to residents being underfed and dehydrated, potentially resulting in serious or even fatal health complications.
Whether it takes the form of undernutrition or overnutrition, malnutrition in Denver nursing homes is a serious problem that affects far too many vulnerable individuals. If you believe your family member is not receiving proper care from the professionals entrusted with caring for them, you may want to consider speaking to a nursing home neglect attorney about your legal options.
What Constitutes Malnutrition in a Nursing Home?
Under the regulations set out by the federal Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, any weight loss within a month exceeding five percent of a nursing home resident’s total body weight—or within six months exceeding ten percent of their body weight—is considered unacceptable weight loss. In order to ensure unintended weight loss to this degree does not occur, nursing home staff members and administrators are expected to identify residents at risk of malnutrition and take steps to ensure they are healthy.
However, malnutrition in Denver nursing homes is rarely as simple as a staff member failing to provide a resident with enough food. For example, certain psychological conditions like dementia and depression can lead to nursing home residents refusing to eat or not eating enough to stay healthy, as can social isolation from friends and/or family members.
Likewise, nursing home residents who are not provided a balanced diet may suffer from a lack of key nutrients even though they have plenty of caloric intake. Identifying the exact source of a resident’s malnutrition is often essential to determining who is at fault for it, and therefore what kinds of legal options may be available to concerned family members.
Signs of Poor Nutrition and/or Dehydration to Look Out For
Malnutrition can have a number of negative and dangerous effects on nursing home residents beyond weight loss, including fatigue, deterioration of the teeth, and organ damage, and it can also contribute to mental health conditions like depression. Due to this, it is important that family members of residents know what symptoms of poor nutrition they should keep an eye out for, so they can take prompt action if they believe their loved one is not getting the care they need.
A nursing home resident displaying any of the following symptoms may be struggling with malnutrition:
- Severe weight loss without a medical explanation
- Canker sores and/or thrush
- Yellowed and/or abnormally wrinkled skin
- Whiteness in the fingernails
- Redness in the eyes
- Sudden changes in mood
The costs associated with any medical care that a nursing home resident has to seek for the effects of malnutrition would be recoverable through an ensuing civil lawsuit. A nursing home neglect attorney may also be able to help a malnourished nursing home resident and their family members seek restitution for non-economic damages as well, such as physical pain and loss of enjoyment of life.
Take Legal Action Against Nursing Home Malnutrition with Help from a Denver Attorney
Malnutrition is unfortunately a serious problem in a number of assisted living facilities, causing severe harm to hundreds of vulnerable residents every year. To make matters worse, even the most attentive family members can sometimes miss signs of poor nutrition in nursing home residents if they do not know what to look for.
If your loved one has suffered this kind of mistreatment or any other from staff members in their nursing home, you may have several options for legal action at your disposal. Talk to a nursing home abuse lawyer today about what you could do to address malnutrition in Denver nursing homes.