Nursing Home Malnutrition Attorney
Nursing homes and extended care facilities should be safe and secure environments. Residents and their loved ones pay what are often exorbitant sums of money with the understanding that nursing homes will provide the highest standards of medical care, personal safety, physical security, and overall quality of life. When negligence occurs on the part of an elder care facility, residents can suffer health complications or even death.
A common symptom of nursing home negligence is malnutrition experienced by both patients and residents. When nursing home negligence results in malnutrition, the injured victim may be eligible for substantial financial compensation via a civil lawsuit. Malnutrition lawsuits can be the best means for recovering various types of damages, such as pain and suffering, medical expenses, diminished quality of life, and more.
Below we’ll examine how to identify an instance of nursing home malnutrition negligence, what potential effects can occur, and how to hire the best elder malnutrition attorney to ensure your claim is successful.
What is Nursing Home Malnutrition?
Proper nutrition is the key to health and wellness among all age groups. But older adults, and seniors in particular, are at higher risk of malnutrition. Caregivers such as nursing home or extended care facility employees should be trained in identifying the signs, causes, and potential complications as a result of malnutrition.
Nursing home malnutrition can be due to a number of different causes. Malnutrition negligence can manifest in various ways, such as patients and residents of nursing homes simply receiving inadequate food variety that includes key fruits and vegetables. But lack of personal care, undertrained staff, and unavailable mealtime supervision by responsible facility employees can also lead to poor nutritional intake on the part of elders. Many nursing home residents or patients require assistance eating, and failure to aid in this regard can have serious consequences.
Some nursing home residents may be unable to consume food properly without assistance. Whether it’s food, liquids, or vitamins/supplements, many extended care facility residents and patients require careful monitoring in order to maintain proper nutrition. When this doesn’t occur and the resident experiences harm, the facility may be held liable via a malnutrition lawsuit.
We’ll address the elements of a nursing home malnutrition lawsuit shortly. But first, let’s review some additional causes of elder malnutrition in managed care facilities.
Common Causes of Nursing Home Malnutrition
- Illness: Various types of disease-related illnesses and inflammation can lead to declines in a patient’s appetite, and changes in how the body is able to process nutrients.
- Adverse drug reactions or side effects: Various medicine side effects such as abdominal pain, stomach sickness, vomiting, diarrhea, psychological disturbances, or drowsiness can result in malnutrition.
- Adverse food or drug interactions: Similar to medication side effects, these can decrease an elder’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals, thereby leading to malnutrition.
- Depression: A study by the National Institute of Health (NIH) found that 14.4% of nursing home residents suffered acutely from major depression, 14.4% suffered from minor depression, and 18.6% were diagnosed as depressive. This psychological condition can often lead to malnutrition and weight loss.
- Swallowing disorders: Conditions such as dysphagia are common in nursing home patients, particularly in those afflicted with dementia, stroke, or Parkinson’s disease.
- Poor dental health: Tooth loss, improperly fitting dentures, oral lesions, and mouth pain can all lead to malnutrition in nursing home patients.
- Tremors: Many seniors suffer from physical tremors, which can affect a patient’s ability to feed him or herself. Again, this is something that should be closely monitored by the nursing home caretakers, as malnutrition can result if the tremors are not either controlled, or another individual assists with feeding the patient.
Facility or Environmental Causes:
- Improper care or attention for residents requiring assistance eating: Many nursing home or extended car facilities are understaffed, leaving patients who require regular nutrition monitoring vulnerable to injury or disease. Uneducated staff: Nursing employees are, unfortunately, often found to be lacking in proper education and training regarding malnutrition.
- Liquid diet or supplement requirements: A reliance on a liquid diet or specific I.V. supplements/vitamins requires careful attention and care. Failure to administer these critical types of nutrition can quickly escalate to serious cases of malnutrition.
- Unique or specialized patient diets: Certain patients may require low sodium, high iron, or other types of specialized diet plans. Failing to adhere to these plans can lead to various nutritional deficiencies, including protein energy malnutrition.
Medical Complications/Side Effects of Malnutrition
According to the Mayo Clinic, malnutrition in older adults can lead to various health concerns, including:
- A weakened immune system, which increases the risk of various infections
- Poor or slow wound healing
- Muscle weakness and decreased bone mass, which can lead to falls and fractures
- A higher risk of hospitalization
- An increased risk of death
In a case of nursing home malnutrition that results in a fatality, the surviving family members may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim and, if successful, recover various types of damages.
Nursing Home Malnutrition Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A nursing home fatality due to malnutrition negligence is grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. Such a claim requires the assistance of a skilled wrongful death attorney. At Berberian Ain, our wrongful death attorneys are experienced in various types of malnutrition negligence claims.
By filing a nursing home malnutrition wrongful death claim, eligible dependents of a decedent can recover various damages, including:
- Funeral and burial expenses
Financial support the decedent would have contributed to the family
- Loss of gifts or benefits
- Loss of companionship
- Value of decedent’s benefits (pension, health insurance, etc.)
How is Malnutrition Treated?
As a caregiver of a nursing home or extended care facility resident, specific steps should be taken to monitor nutritional health. If necessary, specific treatment for elder malnutrition should be applied. Nursing home staff members and employees should note any weight loss on the part of a senior, and address any resulting risk factors of malnutrition immediately.
When caring for seniors, the Mayo Clinic advises elder caregivers to keep in mind the following:
- Monitor a patient’s weight: Help the senior check his or her weight on a regular basis. Maintain a weekly record, and be sure to note any changes in how a patient’s clothes fit, as this can indicate significant weight loss.
- Observe a patient’s eating habits: During mealtime in a nursing home or extended care facility, caregivers should carefully observe a patient’s eating habits. Monitor what types of food are eaten, as well as the amount of food ingested. Keeping a weekly measure of caloric intake is advisable.
- Keep track of a patient’s medications: Keeping a record of all medications prescribed to a patient – including the reason for each medication, the dosages, treatment schedules, and possible side effects – is critical for proper care.
- Provide assistance with meal plans: Caregivers should help seniors and the elderly choose nutritious foods and maintain a well-balanced diet (i.e. selecting nutritious fruits and vegetables available).
Make meals social events: Nursing homes and extended care facilities should make efforts to ensure meals are engaging social events that encourage regular attendance by residents and patients. Encouraging participation in social programs where members of the community can eat together is advised.
- Encourage regular physical activity: Nursing home staff members should understand the importance of daily exercise and implement a regular schedule. All forms of physical activity, even low intensity weight training, can help elders by stimulating appetite and strengthening bones and muscles.
If your nursing home or extended care facility is failing to take the above steps to help residents maintain proper nutrition, negligence may be involved. Accordingly, this type of negligence may, in the event of injury, disease, or death, warrant a nursing home malnutrition civil lawsuit.
In terms of improving a nursing home resident’s nutrition, mealtime strategies have been identified by medical professionals. There are certain steps that an extended care facility should take to help ensure older adults maintain a healthy diet and good eating habits. Some of these steps include:
- Nutrient-rich foods: Facilities should plan and provide meals with nutrient-rich foods that include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, and lean meats.
- Herbs and spices: Facilities should use herbs and spices to add flavor to meals and improve elder interest in eating. Experimenting to find personal favorites among patients is recommended.
- Healthy snacks: Facilities should plan and provide nutrient-rich snacks between meals with fruits, vegetables, or low-fat dairy products.
- Nutritional supplements: Facilities should use supplemental nutrition drinks to help increase calorie intake. Egg whites or whey powder can easily be added to meals to increase proteins (without adding harmful saturated fats in the process).
What is a Nursing Home Malnutrition Lawsuit?
When steps and recommendations such as those outlined above are not adhered to by nursing homes and extended care elder facilities, such actions can qualify as negligence. When negligence occurs in nursing homes, a civil lawsuit can be filed to help recover various losses – both economic and non-economic.
Is you suspect negligence related to a nursing home resident’s malnutrition, contacting a Berberian Ain elder abuse attorney can be the best way to determine the validity of your claim, as well as how much your malnutrition lawsuit may be worth. We can evaluate the circumstances leading to malnutrition and help prove liability in cases resulting in injury, disease, or even death.
Nursing home negligence is an unfortunately common occurrence throughout California facilities, and in cases of malnutrition – which are entirely preventable – injured residents and their family members deserve to be properly compensated. A nursing home malnutrition lawsuit is not simply an effective means for recovering due damages in instances of malnutrition – it can also help deter future abuse.
With the aid of one of our experienced and dedicated nursing home abuse attorneys, we can help ensure your claim is filed properly and your lawsuit reaches a successful conclusion via a malnutrition settlement or verdict.
Berberian Ain: California’s Number One Nursing Home Malnutrition Attorneys
When searching for the most experienced and top-rated nursing home malnutrition attorneys, Berberian Ain is the clear choice given our experience in all types of elder abuse cases, and our dedication to each client. Our past results exemplify the type of aggressive advocacy we apply to every claim, ensuring injured victims recover the maximum financial damages award they deserve.
If you or a loved one suffered malnutrition at the hands of a nursing home or extended care facility, you may be wondering whether or not you have a valid claim, and whether the pain, suffering, and financial losses you’ve endured are compensable.
Allow the experts at Berberian Ain to carefully assess your claim and determine how best to proceed. If you’ve been harmed as a result of another’s negligence or malice, we will fight to ensure justice is obtained and you receive the financial settlement or verdict needed to make a complete recovery.
Contact a team member today or call 818-808-0048 for a free consultation. If you’ve experienced elder abuse through nursing home malnutrition, our team will fight to ensure you recover the maximum financial damages award you deserve.