I believe my elderly loved one is being malnourished. What do I do?

November 13, 2020

Nursing home abuse occurs when caregivers fail to take good care of residents. Whether the caregiver does it intentionally or unintentionally, it is considered abuse. Apart from abuse, residents can get malnourished. Studies show one in three older people in nursing homes experience malnutrition. Identifying the telltale signs of abuse and malnutrition early goes a long way in finding help for your loved one. Our Seattle elder care attorney explains what to look out for.

Signs of Abuse

Nursing home abuse often creates the illusion that your loved one must have physical injuries, but it’s not always the case. The abuse can be emotional and financial too. Understanding the different forms of nursing home abuse is critical before seeking the help of Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys in Seattle WA.

  • Financial abuse: Most seniors, especially those who have dementia or Alzheimer may have trouble managing their monies. This vulnerability puts them at risk of getting exploited by third parties
  • Emotional abuse: This form of abuse entails isolating a loved one from friends and family, screaming at them, or just mistreating them. Such abuse doesn’t leave physical marks as in physical abuse, but it dents your loved one’s self-esteem. Sometimes residents develop depression and anxiety
  • Sexual abuse: Residents also report getting sexually abused in nursing homes. A CNN report published in 2017 found that nursing home residents were getting sexually abused by staff members. The sad part is more than 100 nursing home facilities mismanaged the cases
  • Physical abuse: It is the most common form of abuse. As such, you want to look out for burns, broken bones, cuts, bruises, head injuries, pressure marks, and sores

If your loved one has any of these signs, it may be time to engage the authorities; better still, enlist the help of a Seattle WA Nursing Home Neglect lawyer.

Signs of Malnutrition

Malnutrition is a common occurrence in nursing homes as statistics show a third of nursing home residents experience dehydration and malnutrition.

While there are plausible explanations for these occurrences, e.g., understaffing in nursing facilities, nursing homes must provide elderly residents with an appropriate diet based on their needs. Common signs of malnourishment include:

  • Skin problems: Your loved one may become pale, sickly, and dull. Also, the skin appears dry and develops wrinkles
  • Cold sores: A malnourished patient also shows signs of dehydration. As such, they’re likely to develop canker sores, yeast infection on cheeks and tongues, and chapped dry lips
  • Weight loss: Malnourishment also leads to significant weight loss and loss of energy

What to Do if Your Loved One Is Malnourished

Most nursing facilities claim the loved one’s condition is a result of their declining health or refusal to eat. However, if the senior exhibits any of the symptoms discussed, ask a nursing home malnutrition attorney to help you prove your case.

Nursing homes must provide at least three nutritious meals in a day and ensure proper hydration in between meals. The rule of thumb is they should not be dehydrated for more than 14 hours between the first and the last meal.

And while some loved ones experience difficulty swallowing due to health problems, the facility should prepare suitable food for their needs. For example, they can prepare pureed food to prevent the patient from getting malnourished.

What’s more, the federal regulations require nursing home facilities to have a resident dietitian to deal with residents’ diets and medical conditions. Violation of all such conditions forms a basis for nursing home abuse attorney in WA to argue your case.

How a Lawyer Can Help

If you suspect your loved one is getting abused or showing signs of malnutrition, alert the authorities. If they’re still in denial, hire a Seattle WA Nursing Home Neglect Attorney at Albert Law PLLC. Our nursing home abuse lawyers in Seattle WA provide legal advice to move the claim forward for compensation.