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Is malnourishment evidence of nursing home neglect?

If you have an elderly relative who lives in a nursing home, you depend on health care professionals there to meet his or her needs. Still, nursing homes can be busy places, with each resident having specific and unique requirements. With staffing shortages currently gripping the industry, it can be easy for residents to fall between the cracks.

While it is often difficult to identify neglect, there are some early indicators of it. One of the easiest ones to recognize is malnourishment. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, malnourishment happens when a person does not receive enough vitamins, minerals and nutrients to meet his or her dietary needs.

What are the signs of malnourishment?

If you regularly visit your elderly loved one in the nursing home, you are probably in a good position to recognize the signs of malnourishment. These may include one or more of the following:

  • Failing strength or increasing weakness
  • Baggy clothing
  • Loose skin
  • Mood changes
  • Nausea
  • Confusion or disorientation

How can you ensure your relative receives enough nourishment?

As individuals age, their tastes often change. Furthermore, just as certain medications can make food taste unpalatable, some age-related medical conditions can make it difficult to eat. To ensure your relative receives adequate nourishment, nursing home professionals must provide him or her with nutrient-rich foods that are easy to consume and digest.

If your relative’s malnourishment because extreme, he or she may need medical intervention. Of course, if nursing home staff members are too busy, they may not connect him or her with critical care resources.

Ultimately, if the nursing home resident in your family suffers additional harm because of neglect-related malnourishment, you may have grounds to seek significant financial compensation.