Malnutrition and Dehydration in Nursing Homes
Do You Have a Nursing Home Malnutrition Lawsuit?
When you move your loved one into a nursing home, you expect their basic needs will be met, including them being provided with adequate food. If you believe your loved one in a nursing home is suffering from malnutrition or dehydration, you may have grounds for a legal case. Our team at Feroleto Law has extensive experience helping clients with nursing home abuse and neglect cases and will be ready to fight to ensure your loved one gets the care they need.
Malnutrition as a result of neglect happens when nursing home staff fail to either provide enough food to a resident or nursing home staff does not properly monitor a resident’s food and liquid consumption to be aware of deficiencies. To learn if a resident has physical symptoms of malnutrition, our nursing home neglect attorney can review the medical records to evaluate a nursing home neglect or abuse claim.
How Malnutrition Problems Can Arise in Nursing Homes
Proper nutrition is necessary to ensure good health and quality of life. As people age, there are particular medical conditions we might acquire which make it difficult to chew, swallow, or digest an adequate amount of food. Certain medical conditions or medications may also interfere with how our bodies absorb nutrients.
Additionally, some nursing home residents are just not capable of physically feeding themselves or due to illness or disease they are not able to communicate their hunger or thirst to others. This can leave an elderly nursing home resident to suffer in silence when staff members do not provide them the nutrition they need to survive.
Studies show that nearly 20% of all nursing home residents suffer from some degree of malnutrition1. In addition, 10% of those who have malnutrition begin to suffer the symptoms within the first six months of moving into a nursing home.2 No one should be left hungry or without the full nutrition they need every day. Our attorneys know the steps necessary to prove neglect in a nursing home malnutrition case and can help you and your loved one get justice, and compensation for injuries.
State and federal regulations require nursing homes to assure that residents get an adequate amount of vitamins, minerals, protein, calories and hydration according to their nutritional needs. Very often, nursing homes fail to meet the minimum requirements and that can have a catastrophic effect on an elderly person’s health. Legal claims for malnutrition in a nursing home can help change neglectful practices and protect future residents from suffering harm.
What to Look for in a Nursing Home Malnutrition Case
There are clear symptoms of malnutrition, and several may be present at the same time. Medical professionals can determine the injuries suffered by a nursing home resident and what role malnutrition played in the onset of those problems. Talk to a nursing home neglect attorney to learn how you may be able to bring a legal claim on behalf of your loved one. Nutritional deficiencies can lead to a wide range of medical problems including:
- Weakened Immune System,
- Sudden weight loss,
- Bone loss or Vulnerable to Fracture,
- Dehydration, or
Is Your Loved One Suffering from Malnutrition in a Nursing Home?
How do you know if a loved one in a nursing home is malnourished? You cannot be with your loved one 24/7. That may likely be why your mom or dad is in a nursing home, because they needed constant care and supervision. The nursing home is paid to provide a reasonable standard of care to your loved one when you cannot. You should be able to trust that care will not be neglectful and that your loved one will be given the food and drink that they need daily.
- Your first step should be to have a nutrition assessment performed by the nursing home when your loved one enters the facility. It is also important that reassessments are performed, especially if a new medical issue arises that can affect a patient’s intake or needs. You will likely need documentation to support a legal claim you may need to make in the future.
- Second, keep track of your loved one’s food intake. As best as you’re able, you can keep a continuous record of what your loved one eats and drinks. Do not be afraid to ask a nurse or CNA what your loved one ate that day over the phone or when you arrive for a visit. You may even ask them to show you what was charted as being given to your loved one as far as nutritional sources. If they are capable of responding, you may also ask your loved one what they were given to eat or drink each day.
- Third, be sure any special diet needs are addressed. Many nursing home residents have diet restrictions, you will want to assure that those restrictions are being properly followed by the nursing home staff. Keep records of any failure to follow these restrictions because that lack of action may constitute neglect on the part of the nursing home staff.
To help you determine if your loved one is experiencing malnutrition or dehydration in a nursing home, look for common symptoms. There are also physical warning signs of malnutrition which may include:
- Consistent irritation, anger, or depression,
- Canker sores or thrush,
- Glassy or red eyes,
- Difficulty focusing or communicating their thoughts and feelings,
- Sudden hair loss,
- Muscle weakness,
- Cold, yellowish skin, or
- Swelling or fluid retention.
If your loved one has any of these symptoms, you should speak to one of our nursing home neglect attorneys right away. Our team can help not only gather evidence for a legal case, but also guide you to getting your loved one proper care.
When Malnutrition is Caused by Negligence in a Nursing Home
Malnutrition is a common form of facility negligence in nursing homes. This negligence is often the result of one of the following issues many nursing homes have:
- Inadequate staffing which means there is not enough staff to assure the proper standard of care.
- Inadequate training or supervision of nursing home staff on nutrition standards.
- Nursing home failure to identify underlying medical conditions that affect nutrition intake.
- Lack of individualized care, which prevents residents with special dietary needs from being properly nourished.
- Lack of policies and procedures which prevent neglect by nursing home staff.
- Deficient food service practices that cause meals to be unpleasant to nursing home residents.
All nursing homes are legally and ethically required to provide a nursing home environment that is free from abuse and neglect.
If you believe your loved one is suffering from malnutrition due to nursing home abuse or neglect you must hold the nursing home accountable for the pain and suffering they have caused your loved one. This can be difficult and complicated, but our attorneys at Feroleto Law will be there to guide, support, and zealously advocate for your loved one.
If you suspect your loved one is suffering from malnutrition or dehydration, call our nursing home neglect attorneys at Feroleto Law 716-854-0700 for a free and no-obligation confidential review of your case.
1 Christina L. Bell, Angela S. W. Lee, and Bruce K. Tamura. “Malnutrition in the Nursing Home.” Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care. 2015 Jan; 18(1): 17-23. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000130.
2 Torbahn, G., Sulz, I., Großhauser, F. et al. “Predictors of incident malnutrition—a nutrition day analysis in 11,923 nursing home residents.” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 76, 382–388 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41430-021-00964-9
Attorney John Feroleto
Attorney John Feroleto understands the value of hard work. He is known in the community and by his peers for his willingness to work and go the extra mile. Other lawyers often ask John to handle their trial matters to maximize clients’ recovery. Trial lawyers know who the best trial lawyers are. He was also named Trial Attorney of the Year in 2012 by the Western New York Affiliate of New York State Trial Lawyers Association. [ Attorney Bio ]