Worried About Malnutrition or Unsanitary Conditions in a Nursing Home?
NJ Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers Combat Malnutrition and Poor Hygiene
Caretakers in long term care facilities are responsible for ensuring their residents receive adequate nutrition and for maintaining sanitary conditions. If a resident suffers from malnutrition or poor hygiene, then nursing home negligence is usually the cause. Many residents are unable to speak up for themselves or report substandard conditions. Others are unaware that their food may not meet their individual dietary needs. Additionally, some patients require alternative means of nutrition, such as intravenous supplements, which they cannot administer themselves. A nursing home is legally obligated to ensure that their residents’ hygiene and nutritional needs are met. This is true regardless of whether the resident can bathe and eat independently or must fully rely on others for assistance. If you suspect that your loved one’s needs are not met, then our nursing home malnutrition attorneys may be able to help.
The lawyers at Keefe Law Firm have experience combating poor hygiene and malnutrition in New Jersey nursing homes. There is no legitimate excuse for depriving elderly residents of food and water; nursing homes that do so should be held accountable. Give our nursing home neglect lawyers a call right away if you believe your loved one is suffering or has suffered. We will discuss with you available options for proceeding with a claim.
What Are the Signs of Malnutrition in Nursing Home Residents?
Elderly malnutrition occurs in a nursing home when a resident either does not receive enough food or is not eating a proper variety of foods. For example, the food provided to residents of skilled nursing facilities may not contain the vitamins and minerals necessary to meet recommended daily values. Generally, a physician or a nutritionist should establish each resident’s nutritional needs. Nursing home staff must then ensure these needs are met.
Common signs and symptoms of malnutrition may include:
- Mouth problems. Malnutrition can cause the tissue inside the mouth to turn a bright shade of red. Canker sores may also develop. Additionally, white patches may develop on the tongue and cheeks as a result of a yeast infection or thrush.
- Deterioration of muscles. Malnutrition in the elderly may cause muscles to become flaccid. This may cause the person to become weak and suffer fatigue from light activity.
- Vision and eye issues. Swollen corneas or red, glassy eyes can also be symptoms of malnutrition. Vision may deteriorate as well.
- Cognitive issues. Lack of proper nutrition eventually affects a person’s ability to think clearly. The affected individual may appear irritable and/or listless. Confusion and dementia may be present in advanced cases of malnutrition.
- Skin problems. The skin of someone suffering from malnutrition may become dull and/or yellowish in color. The skin may also become heavily wrinkled and the skin under the fingernails may turn white.
Both dehydration and malnutrition are entirely preventable. However, nursing home residents often suffer malnutrition due to understaffing, and inadequate policies and procedures. If you believe an elderly family member is suffering from or has suffered from malnutrition, then contact our nursing home neglect lawyers.
What Are the Dangers of Poor Hygiene in a Nursing Home?
Substandard nursing home hygiene poses a serious health risk. When unsanitary conditions exist, germs and bacteria may potentially infect all nursing home residents. Patients in skilled nursing facilities are usually at an advanced age, which inhibits the immune system’s ability to fight germs and viruses. Thus, residents may not be able to withstand certain bacterial and viral infections and illnesses that can spread easily. Additionally, nursing home staff members may not follow personal hygiene practices which can result in germs and viruses being passed from the staff member to residents.
At first glance, it may be difficult to discern whether or not the illness your loved one suffered was a result of poor hygiene. Therefore, families should be alert for signs of unsanitary nursing home conditions, such as:
- Residents with poor personal hygiene. Staff should ensure that residents bathe regularly and assist those who need help. If your loved one appears unwashed and has dirty hair or skin, then this may be a sign of negligence.
- Unwashed clothing. Check to make sure your loved one is wearing clean clothing and that the facility launders clothes regularly.
- Debris or dirt in the facility. Signs that the staff have not cleaned the facility itself may indicate lax sanitation standards. Additionally, dirt and debris can increase the risk of slip and fall accidents as well as illness.
- Old or used medical equipment. Medical equipment, such as IVs, injection needles and machinery should be sterile and well-maintained. Additionally, staff should always wear gloves when administering medication and injections.
If you suspect that improper hygiene practices may have caused your loved one’s illness or wrongful death, then speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
Malnourished and Neglected in a Nursing Home? Contact Our Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers
Families place their elderly loved ones in nursing homes to ensure they get the proper care and nutrition they need in a clean environment. However, the attorneys at Keefe Law Firm recognize that nursing homes often do not follow established practices. When negligence causes malnutrition and unsanitary conditions, we work to hold those substandard facilities accountable.
Our nursing home neglect attorneys help individuals pursue compensation when their loved one suffers injury or illness due to neglect in a care home. Call (866) 575-5000 or contact us online to speak with a lawyer today.