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Watch for signs of malnutrition in nursing home residents

If your New Mexico family had to place a loved one in a nursing home, you probably spent a significant amount of time researching facilities and trying to make the best choice possible. It takes a lot of trust to place a member of your family in the care of someone else, and it can be devastating when you learn that your loved one is not getting the care he or she deserves.

Nursing home abuse comes in many forms, and it is not always easy to determine exactly what is happening. You may suspect something is wrong, but you may not be able to put your finger on it. It may be beneficial to learn about signs that could indicate malnutrition, which is often an indication of nursing home abuse or neglect.

Signs of malnutrition

When you visit your loved one in a nursing home, he or she may not be able to tell you that something is wrong. This may be because of mental issues, such as dementia, or it could be because they feel ashamed. Whether it is through negligent care, poor food quality or intentional withholding of food, malnutrition is a serious problem. Some of the ways malnutrition could impact your loved one include:

  • Increased likelihood of death because of another medical problem
  • Higher chance of hospitalization
  • Damage to internal organs and systems
  • Weakening of the immune system
  • Muscle weakness and loss of muscle mass 

Sometimes malnutrition is a normal effect of growing old. However, it could also be a sign of something more concerning. Your loved one's weight loss could be the result of care providers not giving the right medication or monitoring the health of patients more closely. It could be an indication that your loved one is not receiving quality food or a selection that provides him or her with necessary nutrients. 

What should you do?

If you suspect that your loved one is experiencing some form of mistreatment or negligent care in a nursing home, you have the right to speak up on his or her behalf. It is possible to hold liable parties accountable for failure to provide patients with care that meets acceptable standards. An assessment of your case with an experienced attorney can help you see if your family has grounds to move forward with legal action due to suspected malnutrition.

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