Malnutrition in Nursing Home Patients

Older people become malnourished more easily and quickly than younger people. Nursing homes that provide an inadequate or unbalanced diet or fail to detect chronic malnourishment put elderly patients at serious risk to their health.

Malnutrition May Arise from Negligent Conditions

Malnutrition is typically the result of reduced food intake, unbalanced diet, or accelerated calorie loss due to environmental conditions or physical exertion. In cases of neglect, malnutrition arises from avoidable deprivation.

Each year, hundreds of nursings homes are cited for inappropriate feeding tube insertions and improper feeding methods.
— Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

Due to decreased body reserves and other diminished capacities, the elderly are much more susceptible to malnourishment than younger people. In addition, many aging patients have dental problems or experience loss of appetite caused by medication. Thus they must be monitored carefully for any signs of malnutrition.

Another reason patients become malnourished while staying in nursing homes is that many cannot feed themselves without assistance. Each year hundreds of nursing homes receive citations for inappropriate feeding tube insertions and improper feeding methods.

If malnutrition goes unrecognized for long periods of time by nursing home staff and medical personnel, neglect is likely to be present. If elderly malnutrition is a consistent or chronic problem within a care facility, health complications may become severe or life-threatening.

Early signs of malnutrition can be difficult to recognize, especially because symptoms often seem like the natural side effects of aging. However, common signs and symptoms of malnutrition:

  • Sudden or steady weight loss
  • Muscle loss
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Vertigo
  • Dry skin
  • Confusion
  • Tooth decay
  • Damage to internal organs
  • Memory loss

Pennsylvania & New Jersey Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

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Nursing homes have a mandate to provide a reasonable standard of care to residents under their supervision. Malnutrition incidents are completely avoidable, and often indicate caregivers are neglecting those under their care. When a nursing home or care facility fails to uphold the mandated standard of care, including failing to prevent malnourishment, that facility may be liable for damages.

No matter how vigilant we are, we cannot watch our elderly loved ones all the time. For those with a family member who has suffered neglect or abuse while under the care of a nursing home or assisted living facility, please contact us immediately to protect your legal rights.
You can reach our team of elder abuse attorneys toll-free at 1-855-462-3330 or by using our online contact form.