Nursing homes are legally obligated to help residents with their activities of daily life. Perhaps there is no more critical activity than eating.
Nursing homes must provide meals in accordance with a number of requirements, and their staff must assist residents in any way possible.
Unfortunately, nursing homes cut corners in a number of ways, whether it is purchasing cheap food or cutting back on staff. Everything is geared towards boosting the nursing home’s profits.
If your loved one was injured due to nursing home malnourishment, your family may be eligible for financial compensation. Contact an experienced Greenville nursing home abuse lawyer at Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm to learn more about your legal options.
Federal Regulations About Nursing Home Nutrition
Federal nursing home regulations govern almost every aspect of a resident’s life in a facility. There are numerous regulations regarding food and meals, including:
- The nursing home must have sufficient staff to carry out its food and nutrition responsibilities, including staff in the dining room that can assist residents at mealtime
- The facility must employ a qualified nutritionist
- Food and drink that is palatable, attractive, and at a safe and appetizing temperature
- The nursing home must provide food that meets an individual’s needs — for example, a resident who has problems chewing must be provided puréed food
Signs of Nursing Home Malnutrition
Families should also be on the lookout for signs of malnutrition, which can include:
- Hollow and sunken face
- Sudden weight loss
- Loss of appetite
The nursing home must notify the physician and change the care plan when a resident has “significant” weight loss.
Consequences of Nursing Home Malnutrition
Proper nourishment is one of the most critical building blocks. Residents who are malnourished are at an elevated risk of:
- Pressure sores
- Depression and other mental health conditions
In particular, pressure sores are one of the leading causes of nursing home injuries. Malnourishment could lead to weakened skin. In turn, the resident would develop sores when they are left in the same position for an extended period of time.
Malnourishment Is a Form of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home neglect is considered a form of abuse. Malnourishment is one of the main areas of neglect. Residents will often suffer malnourishment when the nursing home does not have enough staff to perform critical tasks.
Nursing homes artificially cut back on staffing because paying workers is an expense that cuts back on profits. There are not enough people to supervise residents at meal time or to notice that a senior is beginning to lose weight and show symptoms of malnourishment.
Since malnourishment often contributes to severe health problems, a family often figures out the cause of the injury after the fact. Of course, a family should report their concerns when they notice that their loved one is rapidly losing weight.
Investigating Nursing Home Malnourishment and Gathering Evidence
If a loved one has been injured, an experienced nursing home abuse attorney can investigate what happened. Most often, the lawyer reviews the medical records with the help of expert witnesses. Your attorney could also gather evidence that could show a pattern of neglect or issues of malnutrition throughout the nursing home.
Your family should report abuse or neglect as soon as you suspect it. Government investigators could visit the facility and reach their own conclusions about what happened. They may uncover evidence that may point your case in the right direction.
Before you file a lawsuit, you should have compiled evidence to show that the nursing home was to blame for what happened to your loved one. You would need to prove that they failed to live up to their duty of care, and their actions caused your family member’s injury.
One of the main obstacles that you may need to overcome is the nursing home’s argument that their actions were not the cause of your loved one’s condition. They may claim that your loved one’s health condition would have happened anyway, regardless of what the nursing home did.
How to Seek Compensation for Nursing Home Malnutrition Injuries
Your first step to seeking financial compensation is hiring an experienced attorney who knows how to go after nursing homes. If you do not already have your loved one’s medical records — (which are your family’s property — a lawyer could help you obtain them. Your attorney can also review the case to determine what your family may be able to receive in a nursing home neglect lawsuit.
In order for your family to be compensated for what happened as a result of your loved one’s malnutrition, you would need to file a lawsuit against the nursing home.
After you have filed a lawsuit, your attorney can build the case in the discovery process. Here, you would learn more about the nursing home and what they did or did not do. Your attorney may negotiate a settlement on behalf of your family. If the nursing home will not settle the case, your lawyer would argue your case at trial.
Nursing Home Lawsuits Can Bring Justice
Your family would file a lawsuit against the nursing home that injured your loved one for many reasons.
You also want justice and accountability for what happened to your family member. A lawsuit would make the nursing home have to answer for what they did. The result of the lawsuit would be accessible to the public, and potential clients of the nursing home may be better informed when they read about what happened to your loved one. You could keep other families from having to go through what you did.
Contact a Nursing Home Malnourishment Lawyer in Greenville Today
The Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm can help your family do what it takes to hold the nursing accountable for the harm that they caused your family member. We will review your case and work with you on a legal path forward as you seek financial compensation, for the harm caused to your loved ones. Call us today at (864) 280-7660 or message us online to schedule a free consultation.