The Los Angeles malnutrition abuse lawyers of the Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi have extensive experience representing victims of malnutrition in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Malnutrition is a form of neglect. Our experienced attorneys will help you ensure that your loved one receives the best results and representation possible.
Malnutrition is poor nourishment resulting from improper diet or from some defect in metabolism that prevents the body from absorbing adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals, protein, and calories. Studies have shown that 35 to 85 percent of nursing home residents in the United States are malnourished, and in some nursing homes, 30 to 50 percent are underweight. Malnutrition is one the leading forms of elder neglect that lowers the quality of nursing home patients’ and assisted living residents’ lives. Patients and residents are at higher risk for malnutrition, mainly due to dental problems, limited mobility, and dementia, and should be more closely assessed and monitored during their stay.Signs of Malnutrition
An unplanned weight loss of 10 pounds of more is the most blatant sign of malnutrition. Other symptoms include bloated abdomen, dry skin, fatigue, dizziness, joint ache, fragile bones, swollen and/or bleeding gums, scaling and cracking of the lips and mouth, disorientation, and decreased organ function. If your loved one has suffered any of these symptoms while at a nursing home or assisted living facility, it may be due to malnutrition and the elder neglect of facility staff. In such case, you may want to consider contacting a malnutrition abuse lawyer in Los Angeles for help.Causes
For many reasons, nursing home patients’ and assisted living residents’ food intake is often inadequate. Lack of individualized care, inadequate staffing, and lack of mealtime supervision by facility staff are among the major factors that contribute to poor nutritional intake because these elders are not adequately assisted in consuming all food, fluids, and supplements that they need. Other factors that may prevent an elder from receiving sufficient nutrients include:
- Adverse drug effects that include stomach sickness, vomiting, diarrhea, psychological disturbances, or drowsiness
- Food and drug interactions which decrease the body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals
- Depression (8 to 38 percent of residents suffer depression which often lead to weight loss)
- Swallowing disorders (Dysphagia) due to conditions such as dementia, stroke, or Parkinson’s disease (40 to 60 percent of nursing home residents are affected)
- Poor dental health such as tooth loss, dentures that do not fit properly, oral lesions, and oral pain
- Tremors, which affect the residents' ability to feed themselves
- Inadequate care for residents who need assistance eating
- Uneducated staff regarding malnutrition
- Reliance on liquid supplements
- Special diets
Malnutrition can lead to many health problems, including death. Malnourishment often leads to infections, confusion, impaired cognition, and muscle weakness that can lead to poor mobility and falls, bed sores, pneumonia, and reduced immunity to bacteria and viruses. If your loved one has experienced any of these events or symptoms while residing at a nursing home or assisted living facility, consider calling a malnutrition abuse lawyer in Los Angeles for help in pursuing a possible legal claim for injuries that have resulted.Treatment
To restore adequate nutrition, a clinical nutritionist or registered dietician needs to assess the causes and effects of malnutrition and formulate diets that will deliver adequate nutrients to the residents. Based on the nutritional assessment, facilities must take steps to ensure that they provide residents with well-balanced, palatable meals. Patients and residents who need assistance with eating should have staff helping them to eat adequate amount. Varieties of oral supplements in the form of liquid drinks or powder added to food can also provide residents with additional calories and protein. Those who are unable to eat or to benefit from nutrients taken by mouth may be fed through feeding tubes.
As with most other injuries, including dehydration, malnutrition can often be traced to inadequate staffing levels at a facility. If your loved one has shown any signs of malnutrition, you should immediately notify the staff. If your loved one has suffered a significant weight loss or any complications due to malnutrition, your loved one may have been subjected to elder neglect, which is a form of elder abuse. The Los Angeles malnutrition abuse lawyers of the Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi can help. Please contact us online or at (310) 623-1926 immediately so that we can help protect your loved one’s best interests and hold the responsible parties accountable.