Nursing Home Malnutrition Lawyer | Dehydration and Abuse

When a loved one in a nursing home becomes malnourished or dehydrated, you should be very alarmed, as these serious conditions qualify as care home abuse and neglect.

Malnutrition & Dehydration Risk Factors

Both of these dangerous conditions can be brought upon by several factors including:

  • Recent illness
  • Emotional disorders such as depression
  • Cognitive impairments that make it difficult to finish a meal
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing food
  • Pain
  • Sensory impairments, especially loss of taste and smell that commonly occurs in aging
  • Side effects of medications, especially diuretics, commonly referred to as “water pills”

People who are not getting enough calories or fluids can certainly lose weight, become confused, or become susceptible to infection. These conditions, if not recognized and treated by the nursing home staff and the resident’s doctor, can lead to life-threatening complications.

Duties of Nursing Homes and Skilled Care Facilities

Federal regulations require facilities to conduct a comprehensive assessment of each resident upon admission and then periodically thereafter. 1

Specifically, these regulations require the nursing homes to “maintain acceptable parameters of nutritional status such as body weight and protein levels, unless the resident’s clinical condition demonstrates that this is not possible”. 2

In regards to adequate fluid intake, federal regulations require that “the facility must provide each resident with sufficient fluid intake to maintain proper hydration and health”. 3

The State of Ohio requires nursing homes to provide residents with adequate care and treatment.

Registered dieticians are part of the multidisciplinary team that assesses every resident. They pay attention to specific requirements for calorie and protein intake and make recommendations to the physician. Often, they order lab tests to assess the specifics of a resident’s nutritional and fluid status. If a resident is at risk for or already suffers from either dehydration or malnutrition, the nursing home is responsible for implementing a plan.

Cases and Experience – How We Help

Nursing homes and care facilities must ensure that residents receive enough food and liquids to stay healthy. If you suspect that your family member may be suffering from malnutrition or dehydration, contact the facility administrator immediately, and give us a call for a free consultation. Please take action immediately before your loved one’s health declines.

[1] (42 CFR 483.20).

[2] (see 42 CFR 483.25(i)).

[3] (see 42 CFR 483.25(j)).

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