As parents reach their elderly years, many end up in need of extra care and attention. While you and many other New Mexico residents would undoubtedly love to provide that care and attention, other obligations may make it practically impossible to do so. As a result, you chose to utilize a nursing facility so that your parent could receive the assistance and care needed. Or so you thought.
Though you did your best to choose a nursing home that seemed to check all the boxes in terms of being properly staffed and having the ability to provide the care your loved one needs, you began to notice some concerning physical changes in your parent. You may have brought up your concerns to staff members only to have them brushed off. Now, you worry that your parent is malnourished.
What are signs of malnourishment?
A little weight loss is not always a major cause for immediate concern. However, if you notice that your parent has lost a considerable amount of weight and muscle mass, and generally has a much thinner appearance, it could point to malnutrition. Some other signs to look for include the following:
- Your parent always seems tired during your visits.
- Your parent’s typically upbeat attitude and demeanor has turned into almost constant irritability.
- Your parent may seem depressed.
- Your parent may express that he or she feels cold much of the time.
- Your parent’s mind may seem to wander as you try to hold a conversation, or he or she seems unable to concentrate on tasks.
If these signs present themselves in your parent — especially more than one of these signs, your parent could be malnourished.
How does this happen?
Often, elderly people may need to take certain medications that affect their appetite, or they could have difficulty feeding themselves due to disabling conditions. In such cases, nursing home staff members should ensure that patients receive the nourishment they need despite these hindrances. For example, patients who have trouble feeding themselves should receive assistance from staff members during meals.
If you believe that nursing home staff members have not taken proper steps to ensure that your parent has received proper meals and assistance with eating, leading to malnutrition, you have every right to feel concerned. If the staff does not help you address these concerns or makes you feel like you have overreacted, you may need to take legal action. Filing a lawsuit for negligence against a nursing home facility could help you pursue justice and compensation for the difficulties your parent suffered as a result of this mistreatment.