Philadelphia Nursing Home Malnutrition Lawyer
Providing adequate food and water is one of the basic tasks of caregiving. Nonetheless, dehydration and malnutrition are a shockingly common problem in nursing homes. Scientists estimate that two-fifths of all nursing home residents have one or both conditions. Worse, malnutrition and dehydration are closely related, because they have similar causes and can worsen one another. Not only does this cause suffering, but both malnutrition and dehydration can cause swift and serious complications, including death. Victims of these conditions in a nursing home shouldn’t hesitate to contact a Philadelphia nursing home malnutrition lawyer for help.
Malnutrition and Dehydration in Nursing Homes
As a group, nursing home residents are already at greater risk of dehydration and malnutrition than other people. Our bodies lose water as we age, which means older people dehydrate more quickly. Certain health conditions can also cause dehydration, including high blood sugar from diabetes and any condition that causes difficulty with swallowing or self-feeding. Patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s can end up dehydrated and malnourished because they neglect their own needs. Many nursing home residents suffer from physical disabilities which require assistance to help feed themselves. All of this means nursing homes must be vigilant about helping each resident take care of these basic needs. In addition to assisting residents who need help with eating and drinking, nursing home staff should monitor residents’ food and fluid intake.
Nursing Home Malnutrition and Dehydration Statistics
Unfortunately, research shows that nursing homes routinely fail in this crucial duty. Most often, this is due to understaffing and lack of attention to residents’ physical and mental limitations. A 1999 study from the University of California at San Francisco found that of 40 nursing home residents observed, 39 had inadequate fluid intake and 25 had an illness or health condition related to that dehydration. One cause of the dehydration was inadequate care. Most crucially, the study found that the home was understaffed, which required staff members to be more efficient at the expense of patient care. One staff member admitted that she withheld fluids from incontinent patients in order to avoid cleaning up after them. In our experience as Philadelphia nursing home abuse lawyers, staff members may also withhold food from residents who are messy eaters.
Complications of Malnutrition and Dehydration
Malnutrition and dehydration have numerous ill effects on the victim’s health. Directly, malnutrition causes vitamin deficiencies and eventually, death. Dehydration can lead much more quickly to dizziness (and susceptibility to falls), confusion or delirium, low blood pressure, lethargy, fainting, seizures or a life-threatening electrolyte imbalance. However, both conditions also increase the victim’s risk of developing other serious health problems. These include, but are certainly not limited to, pneumonia, arthritis, many kinds of infections and bedsores. Our Philadelphia nursing home malnutrition lawyers have seen many stories about nursing home residents who had to be hospitalized because their basic needs for food and water were not met. Yet preventing these illnesses is as simple as taking the time to ensure that each patient has eaten properly and had sufficient fluids.
Contact a Philadelphia Nursing Home Malnutrition Attorney Today
If you or someone you love has suffered serious malnutrition, dehydration, or both in a Pennsylvania nursing home, you should talk to a Philadelphia nursing home malnutrition lawyer at Rosenbaum & Associates about your legal rights. To learn more and to tell us about your case, call us today at (215) 569-0200 for a free consultation or send us a message online.