Both malnutrition and dehydration can cause serious health problems.
The former is a condition that occurs when someone’s diet doesn’t contain the right amount of nutrients. It usually refers to a person not getting enough nutrients, but it also includes over nutrition, in which an individual gets more nutrients than they need.
The latter, dehydration, means a body loses more fluids than it takes it in. If people don’t drink enough water or other fluids, and dehydration isn’t treated, it can become a serious health issue. Dehydration can lead to problems like poor cognitive performance, weakness, and infections.
And both malnourishment and dehydration will weaken the immune system, which means malnourished and dehydrated people are more prone to developing health problems like pneumonia.
So, malnourished and dehydrated residents in nursing homes are far more likely to suffer poor health, which is, of course, the opposite of what nursing homes should be providing their residents.
Sadly, both malnourishment and dehydration among nursing home residents are more common than you may think. For instance, according to one study, an incredible 20% of people in residential care in the U.S. in 2020 were suffering from malnutrition.
If you suspect your relative in a nursing home is malnourished or dehydrated, it’s important that you take action.
So, here’s a look at what you can do.
When a nursing home fails to provide adequate food and fluids to residents, it’s a form of nursing home abuse.
If you suspect your relative in a nursing home is malnourished or dehydrated, your first priority will be to ensure your relative gets the medical attention they urgently require. So, you should speak to your relative’s doctor about the issue.
The doctor can then do things like prescribe supplements and vitamins, make dietary adjustments, make medication changes, and assess and treat underlying issues to get your relatives back to good health.
It’s just as important that you inform the nursing home about the problem.
Once the issue has been brought to the attention of the nursing home manager, he or she should ensure that staff members provide adequate food and fluids to your loved one.
It’s also important that you formally let the nursing home know of the issue in case you pursue a lawsuit for medical negligence or nursing home abuse. When there’s a record of your report on file, you’ll stand a better chance of winning your case.
You should be aware that nursing home abuse and neglect could constitute civil rights violations.
So, when you suspect your relative in a nursing home has become malnourished or dehydrated, you should contact an experienced nursing home lawyer who can help you understand the legal repercussions and assist you in holding the nursing home to account and gaining compensation.
Neglect and mistreatment are illegal, and your relative has rights. So, don’t put off contacting a lawyer for a nursing home injury consultation.
You should also report the nursing home to the police when you believe your relative is being neglected by the nursing home.
By telling the police about the concerns you have about your loved one’s malnourishment and dehydration, you can make a formal report, which will be helpful when it comes to pursuing civil action.
By spending time researching which nursing homes provide the best care, you can find one where your relative can get the proper care that he or she should be receiving.