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Malnutrition in Nursing Homes

Published: Oct 14, 2016 in Nursing Home, Professional Malpractice

Malnutrition in nursing homes is disturbingly common. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), 20% of nursing home residents suffer from a form of malnutrition worldwide. While malnutrition can manifest as a side effect of a pre-existing condition, it is more frequently caused by the inadequacies of nursing home care. Nursing homes often have no culinary variety, and cultural food preferences are ignored. What’s more, residents are often neglected due to understaffing and poor medical supervision.

If you or a loved one is suffering from malnutrition in a nursing home, contact Belt & Bruner Law at (205) 933-1500 for a free consultation. Our experienced Alabama nursing home abuse and negligence lawyers will investigate and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. You and your loved ones should receive the highest quality of care, not whatever the nursing home feels capable of providing.

The Problem

In a study recently conducted by The Commonwealth Fund, it was found that at least one-third of the 1.6 million nursing home residents in the United States suffered from malnutrition or dehydration. This epidemic is due, in large part, to nursing home neglect and abuses. Operational factors of nursing homes that play a role in malnutrition include, but are not limited to:

  • No individualized care
  • Not enough staff
  • High employee turnover
  • No staff supervision

One of the issues that seriously impact the health of nursing home residents is understaffing. The Commonwealth Fund found that, on average, there is only one certified nursing assistant (CNA) for every seven to nine nursing home residents. To put this in perspective, one CNA is only capable of adequately assisting two to three residents throughout the day.

As a result of severe understaffing, nursing home residents are often fed quickly and forcefully. If they do not comply with the CNA’s methods, they are often not fed at all. In addition, the turnover rate for CNAs is very high, at about 93%. With the constant change in staffing, a newly hired nursing assistant may not know the dietary preferences or requirements of each resident and may only have very basic training on nutrition. Combine all this with the fact that most CNAs have very little supervision from medical professionals and the prevalence of malnutrition in nursing homes starts to make sense.

Warning Signs and Health Detriments

In general, it is very easy to spot malnutrition if you know what to look for. Common warning signs are listed below:

  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Dry skin
  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Lethargy

In the elderly, malnutrition can have a dramatic impact on health. It can accelerate or cause many conditions, some of which are life-threatening. If malnutrition is allowed to run its course, it can result in or aggravate conditions such as anemia, low or high blood pressure, tooth decay, osteoporosis, swallowing disorders (dysphagia), stroke, and neurological diseases.

Talk to Our Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence Lawyers with Belt & Bruner, P.C. Today

One of the most effective legal options in combating a neglectful or abusive nursing home is seeking compensation in court. If you would like to pursue this action, the nursing home abuse and negligence lawyers at Belt & Bruner, P.C. can help. We will launch a full investigation and collect all of the information necessary to file a lawsuit. You and your family deserve to be treated with care and decency.

Call us today at (205) 933-1500 to see how we can fight for your rights.



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