4 Important Facts About Malnutrition in the Elderly

Elderly malnutrition involves an elderly person either not receiving a sufficient amount of food or not being provided the right type of food. Failure to properly obtain sufficient vitamins or minerals can result in an elderly person becoming malnourished, which can quickly lead to serious health complications. There are currently around 1.6 million nursing home residents in the country and estimates suggest that a third of these individuals experience malnutrition. As a result, this article will review some of the important details that you should know about elderly malnutrition.

Nursing Home Law

Not only is allowing nursing home residents to become malnourished dangerous for their health, it is also illegal. The Nursing Home Act of 1987 states that nursing homes are required to make sure patients’ nutritional needs are met. To make sure that patients are properly nourished, nursing homes are required to both monitor any weight loss as well as thoroughly track the food intake of residents.

Causes of Malnutrition

Many of the causes of elderly malnutrition at nursing homes are related to the activity of nursing home staff. Some of the most common causes include the following:

  • Overworked Staff. Sometimes nursing home staff is tasked with taking care of too many residents, which makes it difficult to provide each with adequate care.
  • Inexperienced Staff. Inexperienced staff is unable to care for and feed their patients adequately.
  • Improper Medication Management. Staff might administer medication improperly, which could increase the chances that a person becomes malnourished.
  • Isolation. Some nursing homes purposefully punish residents or forget to properly check on them, which increases the chances that the person will become malnourished.

Signs of Malnutrition

The best way to fight against malnutrition is to maintain a close eye on a loved one’s health. Some of the symptoms that are most commonly associated with malnutrition include:

  • Delayed wound healing
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Irritability or depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Weight loss

Severe malnutrition can lead to several advanced and deadly health conditions, which include bedsores, dehydration, renal failure, and fecal or urinary incontinence.

Complications Associated With Malnutrition

There are numerous complications that arise due to malnutrition. Some of the most common symptoms of malnutrition include the following:

  • Difficulty thinking clearly and in some cases confusion and dementia.
  • Mouth problems including canker sores, thrush, or yeast infections.
  • Muscular problems because a body uses up all of stored nutrients.
  • Irritated or red eyes as well as reduced vision.
  • Yellowish skin or increased wrinkling.

Obtain the Services of a Skilled New Jersey Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If your loved one is not provided proper care at a nursing home, a lawsuit can prove to be helpful in compensating them for the damages that are likely to arise. The legal counsel at Ferrara & Gable has a successful track record helping nursing home residents who have been harmed by medical malpractice including those impacted by malnutrition. To increase your chances of obtaining the compensation that you deserve, call our law office today.