Malnutrition is a common problem in nursing homes. Older adults often have weakened immune systems, and their specific needs must be satisfied to mitigate future health problems. For example, they might require certain vitamins and minerals daily to remain healthy and to help prevent physical and cognitive challenges.
If your family member is a vulnerable nursing home resident, you should be particularly attentive when checking for potential signs and symptoms of malnutrition. If you suspect your loved one is a victim of nutritional neglect, a Bowie nursing home nutritional neglect attorney at Brown & Barron can help. Our nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers promise to fight for your legal rights and can help you pursue the financial restitution you deserve.
Please do not hesitate to contact us at Brown & Barron for a complimentary case review and to find out how a Bowie nursing home nutritional neglect lawyer can help you seek the justice you deserve.
Get in touch with a nursing homes nutritional neglect lawyer serving Bowie, (410) 698-1717 for a free case evaluation.
Malnutrition is a potentially severe medical condition that occurs when someone does not consume enough food that provides the nutrients they need to function and maintain good health. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, this condition “develops when the body is deprived of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients it needs to maintain healthy tissues and organ function.” It can occur in those who are either under or over-nourished.
What Are the Risk Factors for Malnutrition?
Malnutrition is often associated with weakened immunity, infections, muscle deterioration, diminished bone mass, slowed wound healing, and more. According to Advances in Nutrition, the following are several common risk factors found among elderly patients who suffer from malnutrition:
- Oral health problems, such as missing teeth, improperly fitted dentures, or infection that causes eating challenges and hinders nutritional intake
- Cognitive or physical impairments resulting in a patient’s inability to perform daily activities, such as feeding themselves, or have difficulty swallowing
- Excessive polypharmacy, or using multiple drugs simultaneously to manage health problems, which can contribute to poor nutritional status due to loss of appetite, nausea, and diarrhea
- Depression, including feelings of loneliness and poor self-esteem due to poor health or low socioeconomic status, accompanied by a loss of appetite, unintended weight loss, and an increased risk of malnutrition
- An overly strict diet, such as those prescribed to control food intake, as patients who find this disagreeable may eat less, lose weight, and suffer from malnutrition as a result
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Nutritional Neglect in the Elderly?
- Loss of appetite
- Unplanned weight loss
- Feeling weak, fatigued, or lethargic
- Swelling or fluid retention
- Frequent anger or irritability
- Bouts of depression
- Cold, papery, and thin skin
- Complaints of being cold
- Unexplained hair loss
- Concentration difficulties
- Eating very small amounts of food at a time
- Slow injury or illness recovery
Maryland Nursing Homes Must Follow State Regulations
The Maryland Department of Health’s Office of Health Care Quality monitors nursing homes in the state and handles complaints. Md. Code Regs. § 10.07.09 contains many laws concerning nursing home residents’ legal rights, including those involving nutritional needs and dietetic services. If a nursing home fails to adhere to Maryland’s required regulations, this may be grounds for a lawsuit against the facility and its staff members.
If you suspect a nursing home violated a law or duty of care to you or a loved one, a Bowie nursing home nutritional neglect lawyer at Brown & Barron can help you with the process of filing a claim and fighting to hold the at-fault party financially responsible for their negligent conduct.
What Is the Duty of Care Owed by Nursing Homes?
Nursing homes, like all medical care facilities, owe a duty of care to their residents to protect them and ensure they are safe from foreseeable harm. Failure to do so makes any nursing home or assisted living facility’s staff member potentially liable for negligence. For example, the facility’s owners, managers, medical directors, doctors, nurses, caregivers, and other health providers and staff members can be legally responsible for resident mistreatment, including nutritional neglect.
“Duty of care” is a legal term that requires an individual to act toward others with the vigilance, caution, and sensibleness that any reasonable person in the same circumstances would use. Therefore, to prove negligence in a nursing home abuse or neglect lawsuit, the claimant must show how the defendant breached or violated their duty of care to the resident.
For example, in the case of nutritional neglect, nursing home staff might violate their duty of care by failing to help feed a resident who cannot feed themselves. The next step is to prove this action led to the resident suffering harm (malnutrition). Finally, there must be provable and quantifiable losses incurred by the resident or their family, such as medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, etc.
Start Working with a Bowie Nursing Homes Nutritional Neglect Attorney Today
If you suspect your loved one is the victim of nutritional neglect at a nursing home, filing a civil lawsuit can help ensure the parties responsible are held legally accountable and that the victim or their family receives damages for their losses.
Contact Brown & Barron online today to schedule a free case review with a with a nursing homes nutritional neglect lawyer serving Bowie.
Recoverable Damages in a Nursing Home Nutritional Neglect Lawsuit
When you pursue damages for yourself or a loved one injured by nursing home abuse or neglect, this will not undo all the harm and may not ensure that certain staff members or the facility itself will be subject to criminal action. However, legally pursuing financial restitution is one of the most effective ways to compensate you for your suffering or that of a loved one.
By legally forcing the offending nursing home to pay monetary damages for their misconduct, you also indirectly motivate them to minimize future losses and change how the facility is managed and supervised. Moreover, if a nursing home must pay you a high settlement for their negligence, they will be more likely to take measures to improve policy enforcement, staffing, and care for other patients.
In a nursing home nutritional neglect civil lawsuit, your Bowie nursing home nutritional neglect lawyer can help you request compensation for losses such as the following:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of quality and enjoyment of life
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses, in instances of wrongful death
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