Dehydration and Malnutrition in NJ Nursing Homes

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Cherry Hill Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers: Dehydration and Malnutrition

Cherry Hill attorneys holding South Jersey nursing homes accountable for neglect

Nursing homes and long-term care centers should understand the dietary needs of each of their residents. They should understand which residents need help eating or drinking. Nursing homes should also know the health and medication needs of each resident. Elder care facilities should have nutritionists on staff. At Ferrara & Gable, our Cherry Hill nursing home neglect lawyers have the experience and resources to handle claims involving malnutrition and dehydration. We’re skilled at showing what harm these conditions cause and the consequences of those failures.

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Call 856-779-9500 now or fill out the form above to receive a free confidential consultation.
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Why are Cherry Hill nursing home residents at risk of dehydration?

The Mayo Clinic states that dehydration occurs when anyone uses or loses more fluids than they consume – to the point that their body doesn’t have enough liquids to carry out routine functions. Dehydration – a condition where fluid loss leaves the body unable to function normally -- is especially serious for the elderly, per the Mayo Clinic. Seniors have a lower volume of water in their bodies. Some medications that older adults take increase the risk of dehydration. Seniors also have more difficulty urinating and drink less liquids than younger generations.

Illnesses and infections that affect the lungs and bladder can cause dehydration in seniors.  Dehydration may be caused by a lack of liquids, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, diabetes, diuretics, excessive sweating, and other causes.

Symptoms of dehydration in long-term care residents

Thirst is one indicator of dehydration – but it’s not the only symptom. Other dehydration symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Urine that is dark-colored
  • Urinating less often than usual and less urine output
  • Extreme thirst
  • Dry skin
  • Low blood pressure
  • Difficulty sweating

Severe cases of dehydration can cause unconsciousness, kidney failure, seizures, swelling of the brain, and comas.

Dehydration is diagnosed through blood tests and urinalysis. Minor dehydration can normally be treated by giving the senior liquids and electrolytes. Severe dehydration requires immediate medical treatment.

What are the four types of malnutrition?

The Cleveland Clinic states that malnutrition occurs in seniors when they don’t get the nutrients they need or the nutrients are in improper proportions. There are four types of malnutrition:

  • This type of malnutrition occurs when your body has a nutrient deficiency – due to an improper diet or because the senior’s body has difficulty absorbing the nutrients from food that it needs. While undernutrition is usually visible (you have less fat and muscle), you can be overweight and undernourished.
  • Macronutrient undernutrition. This condition is due to a lack of macronutrients – proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. A deficiency of these items can cause tissues to break down and cause nonessential functions to shut down to conserve their low energy.
  • Micronutrient undernutrition. These nutrients are vitamins and minerals. A mild deficiency in these nutrients may not be problematic. A major deficiency can cause serious and lasting consequences.
  • Overnutrition. This category of malnutrition includes being overweight and obese.
    • Macronutrient overnutrition can lead to diabetes mellitus, heart disease, and stroke.
    • Micronutrient overnutrition is fairly rare. Large doses of some supplements may be toxic.

Symptoms of malnutrition in nursing home residents

Malnutrition can cause weight loss, loss of mobility, a weak immune system, joint and bone disorders, behavior changes, and many other health consequences. It can be fatal.

Undernutrition symptoms include:

  • Weight loss
  • Depleted muscle and fat
  • Prominent bones
  • Thin arms and legs
  • Fatigue
  • Apathy
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Frequent and severe infections
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • An inability to warm up
  • Low blood pressure and a low heart rate

Overnutrition includes:

  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Resistance to insulin

Are Cherry Hill nursing homes accountable for malnourished/dehydrated residents?

Nursing homes in Cherry Hill are required to comply with various federal and state regulations to ensure the safety and health of their residents. These long-term care facilities are also required to comply with the best practices of the nursing home industry. A top priority for nursing homes is ensuring that residents have the nutrition they need, that underlying causes of dehydration and malnutrition are addressed, and that dehydration and malnutrition are treated promptly when it occurs.

At Ferrara & Gable, our Cherry Hill nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers are skilled at showing that the following types of negligence caused your parent or other loved ones to suffer dehydration or malnutrition:

  • Not having specific nutrition plans for the residents. The facilities should know what foods and liquids each resident needs, can be served, and can’t be served. Special attention should be paid to residents with cognitive disorders or eating disorders. The staff should make sure that the residents actually consume their food and liquids. Dietary supplements should be used where necessary.
  • Unsanitary conditions. The food and dining room should be appetizing and, unless there are restrictions, the food should be tasty.
  • Not understanding other health conditions. The nursing home should examine if other causes – such as dental problems, bedsores, or infections – are contributing to a resident’s nutritional difficulties.
  • As a punishment for the resident. Seniors should never ever be denied food or drink because of how they behave or act.

We work to show that dehydration and nutrition could have been prevented if the nursing home had prioritized:

  • Proper staffing levels
  • Training their staff about dietary needs and the nutrition needs of each resident
  • Having specific times, places, and policies regarding eating and drinking
  • Conducting inspections of each resident’s nutritional health
  • Ensuring that the residents are being moved and getting proper exercise

What is a malnutrition/dehydration claim worth in South Jersey?

At Ferrara & Gable, our Cherry Hill nutrition lawyers demand compensation for all of your loved one’s injuries, including the following:

  • Their physical pain and emotional suffering
  • All current and future medical expenses
  • Any loss of function due to dehydration, malnutrition, and delays in treatment
  • Loss of quality of life

Our nursing home lawyers also file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the close relatives if dehydration or malnutrition causes the death of a loved one.

Do you have a Cherry Hill nursing home neglect lawyer near me?

Ferrara & Gable’s office is located at 601 Longwood Avenue in Cherry Hill, NJ. You can park close by. l You can also reach us by the Rt. 38 bus. We do schedule a phone or video consultation for clients who are too ill to come to our office.

We’ll explain the senior’s rights and help them assert their rights. We’ll help you be prepared for each stage of the claims process.

Fighting for South Jersey nursing home residents suffering from malnutrition and dehydration

Part of the joy of old age should be eating well and drinking beverages you like. There’s no excuse for causing dehydration or malnutrition – or failing to treat those disorders. At Ferrara & Gable, our Cherry Hill dehydration and malnutrition lawyers file claims against irresponsible nursing homes. We seek full compensation for the harm the nursing homes cause and to ensure every senior at the nursing home eats and drinks a healthy diet. Call us or fill out our contact form today to schedule a free consultation. We’re experienced personal injury lawyers.