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What Are The Effects Of Malnourishment In Nursing Homes?

Older man receiving a vaccine

According to SAGE Open Nursing, some effects of malnourishment in nursing homes include:

  • Loss of mental sharpness and clarity
  • Elevated risk of falling, slipping, and tripping
  • Loss of muscle mass and bone density
  • Damage to internal organs
  • Unusually low energy levels
  • Hair loss
  • Susceptibility to cuts, scratches, and bruises

Malnourishment is an indicator of neglect in nursing homes. If your loved one suffered from the effects of malnourishment, you have legal options.

Malnourishment Can Also Lead to a Weakened Immune System

Most nursing home patients are elderly and in fragile health. One or more of the following effects listed above could compromise their health––namely, their immune systems. Nutrients notes that malnourishment weakens how the body combats certain ailments.

This can lead to:

  • Lengthy hospital stays
  • Longer-than-average recovery times
  • Open wounds and sores that take longer to heal
  • An increased risk of death

The publication also notes that malnourished seniors are more likely to contract COVID-19 than their well-nourished peers. It’s vital for seniors to stay hydrated and receive balanced meals while in a care facility. Otherwise, they could face a host of negative health effects.

Signs of Malnourishment in Nursing Home Patients

Malnourished nursing home patients can often appear frail and have thinning hair. Their skin may be pale, bruise easily, and heal slowly. Sunken eyes or poor dental health are also not uncommon in malnourished patients. Residents may also lack awareness or seem “out of it” when you visit them.

Some cognitive impairments that come with malnourishment include:

  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Extreme fatigue
  • The inability to focus
  • Forgetfulness 

Some nursing home patients don’t recognize the symptoms of malnourishment and write off these impairments as part of aging. Yet, if you notice any of these signs in your loved one, we urge you to take action. This may involve bringing up your concerns to the nursing home’s administration or even removing them from the facility altogether. 

What Are the Causes of Malnourishment in Nursing Homes?

Nursing homes have a responsibility to provide a reasonable standard of care for their patients. Upholding this standard of care includes making sure that patients have balanced, scheduled meals that promote their well-being. Yet, not every care facility provides adequate care. 

Some causes of malnourishment in nursing homes include: 

  • Failure to consider a patient’s condition. A well-balanced meal for one patient may not satisfy another patient’s needs. A care facility’s staff should consider a patient’s individual needs when providing meals. 
  • Poor staffing. Some nursing homes have poor staff-to-patient ratios. Staff shortages can impact how often patients get meals and what these meals comprise. 
  • Budgeting problems. Sometimes, to save money, nursing homes will reduce meal portions. It’s not enough to just feed a patient; meals must promote patients’ physical and emotional health. 
  • A lack of assistance. Some nursing home residents cannot feed themselves. In that instance, a staff member should help them. If they don’t, this could hurt the patient’s nutrition and overall health. 

You Have Options if Your Loved One Suffered Malnourishment in a Nursing Home

If your loved one suffered malnourishment in their nursing home, you have legal rights. You can file a claim or lawsuit against the negligent care facility for the harm your loved one endured. Compensation in your case could comprise healthcare expenses, moving to a new care facility, and pain and suffering.

You Can Partner with a Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer

Pursuing compensation from a negligent nursing home is easier said than done. The care facility may deny responsibility for your loved one’s condition. Its administration may gaslight you into thinking that nothing is wrong. This is where partnering with a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney can benefit you. 

They can: 

  • Assess your loved one’s condition
  • Gather evidence of malnutrition and other forms of neglect 
  • Research the nursing home’s history for previous instances of neglect 
  • Evaluate your losses
  • File a claim or lawsuit against the care facility
  • Interview witnesses, such as healthcare professionals and other residents 
  • Communicate with the involved parties on your behalf 
  • Represent you on a contingency-fee basis 

After learning that your loved one suffered harm in a care facility, you don’t want to struggle with a complicated legal case. You want to spend time with your loved one and make their life easier. Entrusting your case to a lawyer can come with a host of benefits. 

Connect with Our Team to Start a Free Case Review

Here at Brown & Barron, we pride ourselves on being a resource for our community. We take nursing home abuse and neglect cases personally. If your loved one suffered from the effects of malnourishment in a nursing home, we’re ready to champion your rights. 

To explore your legal options, call us today. We offer free case reviews where we can listen to your situation and lay out a course of action.

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