Knoxville Malnutrition & Dehydration Attorney
Nursing homes owe a duty to provide residents with competent care. And nothing could be more basic than feeding and hydrating a resident. Unfortunately, as many people find out when they visit loved ones at a home, many facilities fall short of providing adequate care.
Malnutrition or dehydration is shocking to observe in nursing homes. Residents who are not properly fed or hydrated are incredibly vulnerable to infection and possibly death. Please contact a Knoxville malnutrition & dehydration attorney today to review your case.
Why Residents Suffer from Malnutrition or Dehydration
In our experience, residents suffer for the following reasons:
- The facility does not have processes in place for properly tracking a patient’s food or water intake. Even when errors are pointed out, the facility does not improve its system.
- When nursing home staff are pulled in a dozen directions, they might overlook a patient, particularly one with dementia who does not talk.
- Some dangerous staff members deny residents food or water as a form of punishment or torture. Other staff members should notice the malnutrition but often fail to out of neglect. In fact, a neglectful nursing home is a breeding ground for abuse.
Some facilities might try to cover up malnutrition or dehydration by denying that your loved one isn’t eating or offering some other excuse. Unless someone is very sick, they should not lose unexpected amounts of weight.
Sometimes, family members have no idea something is wrong until their loved one ends up in the hospital due to malnutrition or dehydration. The nursing home might try to claim an infection led to the hospital admission. But the real culprit could be inadequate feeding or hydrating.
Complications from Malnutrition
Proper nutrition is essential for health. When patients do not get enough healthy food, they suffer an increased risk of:
- Impaired immune system
- Muscle loss
- Confusion or memory loss
It is not unusual for malnutrition to prevent or delay a resident from overcoming an infection or other injury.
Complications from Dehydration
Humans need water every day. When denied hydration for an extended period, residents can suffer from:
- Urinary tract infections
The elderly need more water than other people, but nursing homes should be aware of this fact. If necessary, they should hook up your loved one with an IV to replace lost fluids.
Uncovering Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
If you suspect your loved one is not being fed or hydrated, you should take immediate action. First, bring the situation to the attention of the nursing home management. They must investigate to determine why your loved one is malnourished or dehydrated.
Second, increase your visits to the nursing home, if possible. Regular checkups will let you know if the issue is being addressed.
Third, contact a seasoned nursing home abuse attorney in Knoxville. At Atkins Brezina, PLLC, we can review patient records and interview facility staff to try and pinpoint the cause of the problem. Nursing homes rarely admit mistakes, but a lawsuit could force them to turn over patient records.