Although many individuals associate nursing home abuse with physical harm inflicted upon an aging individual by a health care worker, there are plenty of other ways an elderly individual can be mistreated. Aside from abuse, which can occur in many different ways, there is also neglect. When a nursing home resident is neglected, or not provided with the appropriate type of care or attention they require, their health often declines as a result. Two common conditions that are found in many nursing home residents who are neglected are malnutrition and dehydration, both of which are serious medical conditions that can have an adverse effect on your loved one’s wellbeing.
Because a poor diet and insufficient amounts of liquids can be detrimental to an aging person, it is vital that you or anyone else responsible for visiting a resident keep an eye out for signs that indicate they may be a victim of malnutrition and dehydration. If you aren’t sure what signs to look out for, read on below as we list a few for you.
Signs That Your Loved One Might Be Suffering from Malnutrition
Malnutrition is a “dietary deficiency” that “results from a poor diet or lack of food. It happens when the intake of nutrients or energy is too high, too low, or poorly balanced [Source: Medical News Today]. When an individual doesn’t receive the vitamins, nutrients, or other “essential substances” they need from foods or liquids, they might experience problems with digestion and experience long-term effects on mental function, says Medical News Today.
Some signs and symptoms of malnutrition include:
- A lack of appetite or interest in food or liquids.
- Tirednessand/or irritability.
- Inability to concentrate.
- Always feeling cold.
- Loss of fat, muscle mass, and body tissue.
- Higher risk of getting sick and taking longer to heal.
- Higher risk of complications after surgery.
When malnutrition goes untreated or becomes a serious issue, an individual might:
- Find it difficult to breathe at times.
- Find that skin might become thin, dry, inelastic, pale, and cold.
- Their cheeks may appear hollow and their eyes may look sunken in.
- Their hair might become dry and sparse and fall out easily.
[Source: Medical News Today].
Now, if you believe your loved one is a victim of malnutrition as the nursing home staff isn’t providing them with a sufficient diet or making sure they eat, you may have a viable nursing home abuse case on your hands. Therefore, it would be a good idea to contact a Nashville, TN nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer to find out more about what grounds qualify you to file a claim against a nursing home facility.
According to Web MD, “dehydration happens when your body doesn’t have as much water as it needs.” When a person doesn’t consume adequate amounts of water, their “body can’t function properly.” Dehydration ranges in severity depending on how little water was consumed. A person might suffer from a mild or moderate case of dehydration while another may experience a severe case.
Some signs and symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration include:
- Always feeling thirsty
- Dry or sticky mouth
- Dark yellow urine
- Dry, cool skin
- Muscle cramps
When someone experiences a severe case of dehydration, they may exhibit these signs or symptoms:
- They aren’t urinating often and when they do it is dark yellow.
- Extremely dry skin.
- Feelings of dizziness.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Rapid breathing.
- Sunken eyes.
- Sleepiness, lack of energy, confusion, and/or irritability.
[Source: Web MD].
If you have an aging relative that resides in a nursing home in Nashville, TN and you witness signs that indicate they might be dehydrated, be sure to bring it to the attention of the healthcare staff responsible for caring for them. If you find their condition doesn’t get better but worsens, it may be time to relocate them to a new facility.
Now, because malnutrition and dehydration are serious conditions that could lead to your loved one developing health issues or worsening the ones they may already suffer from, it is vital you take immediate action if you notice any of the signs or symptoms mentioned above.