Malnutrition is a widespread problem among senior citizens in nursing homes. According to The Commonwealth Fund, at least 33 percent of nursing home residents in America suffer from dehydration, malnutrition, or both.
Understaffing and a lack of training are just two causes of malnutrition in nursing homes. For example, researchers determined that there should be one certified nursing assistant on the schedule for every two to three residents who require help eating, but most nursing homes do not even come close to staffing such a ratio.
Malnutrition is a kind of nursing home abuse, and it can have devastating consequences. If you think your loved one is being neglected, a nursing home abuse lawyer from The Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd can help. Call 312-384-1920 to schedule an initial consultation with a Chicago elder abuse attorney today, and read on to learn more about identifying malnutrition:
What Are the Signs of Malnutrition?
The elderly are a vulnerable population, and it is critical that they get plenty of nutrients in order to thrive. When they do not maintain a balanced diet or consume enough calories every day, they will exhibit certain physical signs and symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the signs of malnutrition in the elderly include:
- Weight loss;
- Oral issues like excessive redness and canker sores;
- Flaccid muscles;
- Excessive fatigue;
- Red eyes and swollen corneas; and
- Easy bruising.
If your loved one is suffering from malnutrition, he or she may also experience cognitive difficulties. Although some decrease in cognitive function is normal with age, it typically happens gradually. When malnutrition is causing cognitive difficulties, they will come on quickly, and the individual will be irritable, listless, and confused.
What Are the Signs of Dehydration?
Dehydration is also a common problem among residents living at understaffed nursing homes. Signs of dehydration in the elderly are similar to those of malnutrition and include:
- Poor coordination;
- Sunken eyes;
- Inability to produce tears or sweat;
- Low blood pressure;
- Dry mouth; and
- Rapid heart rate.
What Are the Consequences of Malnutrition?
If you think your loved one is suffering from malnutrition or dehydration, it is critical to act immediately because serious issues could arise. In the elderly, malnutrition can cause:
- Muscle weakness; and
Muscle weakness and fatigue can increase an individual’s risk of slipping and falling, which poses serious risks of its own. Malnourishment also weakens the immune system, which can increase the risk of infection.
If you visit your loved one at the nursing home and notice any signs of malnutrition or dehydration, seek medical attention immediately from an outside physician. Once your loved one’s health is stable again, turn to an elder abuse attorney from The Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd to discuss your options.
Call 312-384-1920 to schedule an initial consultation with a Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer. You can learn more about filing a nursing home abuse claim in Illinois by visiting http://nursing-home-abuse.usattorneys.com/illinois/.