If you think your elderly loved one may be malnourished and are worried that they are not being sufficiently fed or cared for, do not wait to talk to an attorney.
Nursing homes are obligated to provide their residents with a basic, acceptable standard of care. That includes ensuring each resident receives the sustenance and fluids they need to stay healthy. When a resident does not get enough nutrients due to neglect, they may become malnourished, which can lead to serious health consequences (including death) if left unaddressed.
At Harvey & Foote Law Firm, we are well-versed in how to effectively advocate for families in these matters, having handled thousands of abuse and neglect cases involving nursing homes throughout New Mexico. Our Albuquerque nursing home malnutrition lawyers will leverage our extensive experience, skills, and hometown advantage as we fight to hold responsible parties accountable and get your family the justice you deserve.
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What Is Malnutrition?
The human body, no matter its age, needs certain amounts of nutrients to stay healthy. Malnutrition occurs when the body does not receive adequate nutrients. Someone may become malnourished even if they are only significantly deprived of a single key nutrient.
Older adults tend to become more easily malnourished than younger adults. The consequences can also be more extreme and immediate: An elderly adult suffering from malnourishment may become more easily dehydrated, have trouble fighting infections, experience impaired wound healing, become more susceptible to falls, and become more at risk for heart failure, blood clots, mental health issues, and other adverse health outcomes.
How Can Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Contribute to Malnutrition?
Because many nursing home residents have reduced mobility or limited mental faculties, they frequently depend on nursing home staff to access food. In an ideal world, nursing home staff would carefully review each resident’s individualized care plan, take the time to understand their nutritional and dietary needs, and ensure they receive the appropriate foods at the appropriate intervals. In reality, some nursing homes neglect their residents by critically understaffing and overworking their employees, which prevents an acceptable level of care from being administered and can result in residents becoming malnourished.
If a nursing home’s staff is stretched too thin, there may not be enough staff to help residents who need help eating. Also, without sufficient staff, residents may be required to eat too early or too late. Undertrained or unqualified employees may not be able to recognize the signs of malnutrition in the first place. Nursing homes may also attempt to cut corners by reducing snacks.
A nursing home generally becomes liable for injuries caused by neglect, including the consequences of malnourishment. If you are not sure whether neglect was the cause of your loved one’s injuries, our Albuquerque nursing home malnutrition attorneys can investigate the circumstances and determine whether you have a case.
What Are Common Signs of Malnourishment in a Nursing Home Resident?
If a nursing home is already neglecting your loved one to the point where they become malnourished, they will likely fail to recognize the danger and take corrective action. Consequently, you will need to watch out for red flags that may signal your loved one is not getting enough nutrients.
Consider reaching out to the Harvey & Foote Law Firm if you notice any of the following warning signs of malnourishment in your loved one:
- Significant, unexplained weight loss
- Sunken eyes
- Hair loss
- Pale skin
- Complaints of weakness
- Loss of interest in activities they previously enjoyed
- Higher frequency of illness
- Spikes of depression or anxiety
What Damages Can I Recover in a New Mexico Nursing Home Neglect Claim?
If it becomes clear your loved one is malnourished, their health and safety are your top priority. After reviewing the circumstances, we will recommend a course of action, which will typically include reporting suspected neglect to the appropriate authorities, removing your loved one from the facility, and promptly getting them medical care. Then, we will get to work on recovering damages from the responsible parties. If the nursing home or any other liable party refuses to negotiate a fair settlement, we are ready to try your case all the way.
Our Albuquerque nursing home malnutrition lawyers will make every effort to get your family compensation for all losses, including:
- Past, current, and future medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
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