South Carolina – July 20, 2021

Dementia is a common problem for elderly and a primary cause for long term care at a skilled nursing facility in South Carolina. It is a federal violation of resident rights to disrespect any South Carolina nursing home resident, and to ignore special needs for receiving adequate nutrition and hydration in accordance with the Federal Resident Bill of Rights and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.  Family members who notice signs of dehydration and malnutrition, or have a resident who complains of being hungry should contact an experienced nursing home attorney for guidance on next steps to rectify the problem.

Mealtimes may short change residents with dementia.

Quite often nursing home residents who are experiencing periodic bouts of dementia cannot advocate for themselves, and may be missing out on the designated services outlined in the Federal Bill of Rights for nursing home residents.  Mealtime may be institutionalized and considered an insignificant event without attention and concern for individualized needs. Attention must be paid to the availability of nutritional food, but also to how residents eat and the support given to them in that process as many might suffer from physical ailments that  could lend to choking, or a lack of ability to cut their own food and raise their arms to their mouths when residents are infirmed.  Nursing home abuse attorneys in South Carolina can explain how a duty of care may have been ignored when a resident suffers from malnutrition, dehydration, or becomes ill because they were not given proper nutrition as provided under the protections of  The Nursing Home Reform Act under Title IV of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987.

Staff education.

There are many components required to deliver excellent care to South Carolina nursing home residents, especially those who do not have families, or loved ones to advocate for them.  Review of system approaches to mealtimes have shown in some studies that the lack of staff education, inadequate staffing and supervision, disregard for personal and cultural preferences, lack of assessment for comorbid health problems, intake of food and fluids, dysphagia, and oral health problems all contributed to malnutrition and dehydration among nursing home residents.  Individuals who believe that a nursing home is not paying attention to mealtime rules according to the new guidelines of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid should contact a nursing home attorney to communicate the concerns on a resident’s behalf when negligence is shown due to malnutrition and dehydration symptoms leading to other illnesses.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid mealtime regulations.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid issued regulations that address the complexities of resident needs at mealtimes. Although offering food and fluid is time-consuming and requires special knowledge of physiological changes and empathy for persons whose behavior might be objectionable at times, it may be one of the few times during the day that the individual with dementia receives normalized social interaction. A facility must provide special eating equipment and utensils for residents who need them and appropriate assistance to ensure that the resident can use the assistive devices when consuming meals and snacks.

Seek legal counsel.

When sub-standard care causes a resident to lose weight, and become nutritionally compromised, it may be accidental, or it may be considered abuse.  Legal action may be taken against a nursing home and/or the treating medical professional because acts of negligence that cause, or exacerbate existing health conditions, or place residents in danger are deviations from the Nursing Home Reform Act  rights.  Call an experienced attorney at the McDougall Law Offices, to discuss concerns if you believe a loved one is being mistreated at a nursing home in South Carolina.

 

McDougall Law Firm, LLC

115 Lady’s Island Commons
Beaufort, SC 29907

Phone: 843.379.7000

 

Sources.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15331305/

https://www.anfponline.org/docs/default-source/legacy-docs/docs/nc112016

https://www.congress.gov/bill/100th-congress/house-bill/3545/titles

https://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/About/howcannhchelp.html

https://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/search.html

 

 

 

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