Malnutrition

  • Introduction
    • Malnutrition is a state of deficiency, imbalance or excess of energy, protein and other nutrients having adverse effects on the form or function of the body and clinical outcome
      • Elderly residents in nursing homes are at an increased risk of malnutrition due to a variety of factors including sensory loss, chewing and swallowing problems, a decrease in or loss of appetite, mobility restrictions, cognitive impairment, etc.
    • Inadequate dietary intake and malnutrition contributes not only to the progression of already existing chronic diseases, but can also predispose the subject to various acute health problems such as infection or dehydration
    • Low BMI and unintentional weight loss are risk factors for mortality and have a negative influence on the functional status and psychosocial wellbeing of the elderly population
    • Reasons
      • The lack of extended research regarding nutritional deficiencies in nursing homes
      • Malnutrition in this vulnerable population can easily be neglected by the nurses and other staff
  • Results
    • There was a study done showing that 68.8% of the residents assessed were at risk for malnourishment and 10.3% of the residents assessed were categorized as malnourished
  • Discussion
    • Malnutrition is associated with significantly increased morbidity and mortality in nursing home residents
    • Properly fitting dentures for those with teeth loss is important to make sure that they are still able to consume food without avoiding it
    • Dehydration can easily be prevented by the nurses and other staff making “fluid rounds” to make sure that patients are consistently hydrated

 

Has your loved one lost a lot of weight while a patient in a nursing home? Malnutrition, a condition where the body doesn’t get enough nutrients to properly support its’ functions, is a legitimate concern for nursing home residents. Malnutrition can be very dangerous, and it is important that you, as a family member or friend, along with the staff of the nursing home, ensure that your loved one stays as healthy as they can be during their stay.

 

Elderly residents in nursing homes are at an increased risk of malnutrition for a few reasons – sensory loss, cognitive impairment, and chewing and swallowing problems being a few of these. Malnutrition is not only a problem on its own, but it can affect the way the rest of the body functions. When people don’t eat the amount of nutrients that they need, diseases that they already have can become worse. Malnutrition can also cause a person to be more likely to have other health problems as well, including infections or dehydration. A low body mass index (BMI) caused by unwanted weight loss can be a risk factor for mortality and can effect the psychological and social health of your loved one.

 

There are several reasons for malnutrition in nursing homes. There isn’t much research that has been done about nutritional deficiencies in nursing homes, but what we do know is that the nurses and other nursing home staff can easily neglect malnutrition in the vulnerable population of the elderly in nursing homes. There was a study published in the US National Library of Medicine that showed that 68.8% of nursing home residents assessed were at risk for being malnourished and that 10.3% of the nursing home residents assessed were actually categorized as being malnourished. This is an unacceptable and shocking thought.

 

To prevent your loved one from being malnourished while in their nursing home, it is important to make sure that the nursing home has preventative measures. An example of this would be nurses or other staff doing rounds every few hours to make sure everyone has had enough fluids to keep them healthy. Another preventative measure is to make sure that if your loved one needs dentures, that they are given the proper size and that they are comfortable for them. Being able to use teeth or dentures to consume food is much more satisfying and lowers the chances of your loved one becoming malnourished.
When nursing homes do not have measures in place to make sure that your loved one is receiving enough nutrition, dehydration, illness, and even death can occur because of their neglect. We deal with cases like this everyday and would love to sit down with you and see what we can do to help your loved one get the justice that they deserve. Call our experienced Greenville, SC nursing home neglect legal team at the Dan Pruitt Law Firm today at 864-232-4273!