What Are the Risk Factors for Malnutrition and Dehydration in Nursing Homes?
Posted on behalf of Gordon & Partners on Apr 17, 2019 in Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home residents rely on staff members to provide adequate care and attend to their everyday needs, including supplying basic essentials such as food and water. When staff members fail to ensure that the basic needs of residents are being met, they may contribute to harmful conditions like malnutrition and dehydration. The effects of nursing home abuse may not be as apparent as physical forms of abuse, but neglect can be just as devastating.
Both malnutrition and dehydration occur through a lack of proper diet and fluid intake. These conditions can lead to numerous infections, a sense of confusion and weakness in the muscles. It is important to consider the risk factors residents may face in nursing homes and learn how to identify these symptoms.
If you suspect your loved one has suffered malnutrition or dehydration in a nursing home, it is crucial to communicate this matter to a knowledgeable West Palm Beach nursing home abuse lawyer at Gordon & Partners. We are committed to helping nursing home residents live a healthy life with quality care.
Causes of Malnutrition and Dehydration
Malnutrition usually happens due to a lack of eating the appropriate vitamins and minerals in the resident’s diet. Many residents can eat large meals and still suffer malnutrition. However, another source of this problem is abuse or neglect. Dehydration is the lack of necessary liquids consumed at a proper rate. Some elderly residents need special diets or additional aid in eating or drinking.
The following can cause one or both of these conditions:
- Inadequate staff assistance with the eating or drinking process
- A general lack of individualized care
- Uneducated staff about proper ways residents should eat and drink
- Special diets or the need for pureed foods
- Not administering tube feedings when necessary
- The absence of fresh water within reach
Malnutrition and dehydration through abuse or neglect can occur because of high turnover in staff, long hours that stress staff members and too many residents with too few nurses on staff. Illness through physical or mental conditions is another source, which is often a sign that the elderly resident is currently suffering from dehydration or malnutrition.
Risk Factors and Side Effects Involved
Nursing home residents have increased risk factors and side effects stemming from malnutrition and dehydration. These risk factors generally include the possibility of depression or diabetes, nausea, vomiting and sleepiness. Others can increase rates of Alzheimer’s or even certain types of dementia.
There are certain psychiatric disorders and even food and drug interactions that can affect the body, moods and behavior. Many elderly residents experience infections, mouth pain and major issues such as strokes.
Other risk factors and side effects of malnutrition and dehydration include the following:
- Dull eyes, pale skin, lips and mouth
- Confusion or disorientation
- Swollen arms, lower legs, lips, gums or tongue
- Weight loss
- Thinning hair
- Wounds that do not heal
- Unusually dry skin or mouth
- Sticky saliva
- Lack of tears, urine output and increased thirst
- Loss of consciousness
- Severe vomiting
Ways to Identify Dehydration and Malnutrition in a Resident
Dehydration and malnutrition often have cues that residents and their families can observe. For example, the resident may have a lowered appetite or a lack of any interest in food or drink, which may be accompanied by lethargy and fatigue.
He or she may experience greater weakness and a lack of energy as the symptoms progress. This can also increase instances of illness and time to recover from ailments. Injuries do not heal as fast and the resident may have poorer concentration. The following are additional ways to identify these issues:
- Feeling particularly chilly
- Less emotional or depressive
- Intense thirst or hunger
- Dry or papery appearing skin
- Abnormal urination and bowel movements
How Can an Attorney Help?
If your loved one has endured an injury or illness caused by malnutrition or dehydration, you should reach out to our experienced attorneys at Gordon & Partners for support in this matter. There is no excuse for the improper care or negligence of nursing home residents. We are committed to helping you and your family obtain the justice and compensation you deserve.
Contact us for a free consultation at no risk or obligation to you to discuss your legal options. There are no upfront costs to worry about. We only get paid if we help you recover favorable compensation.
Call 1 (855) 722-2552 today to see how we might be able to help you.