Signs of Malnutrition and Dehydration in Nursing Home Residents

Recently, the federal visitation guidelines for Alabama nursing homes have been relaxed. With this development, many Alabamans are excited to safely spend time with their loved ones after a difficult year. 

Unfortunately, regardless of the status of the pandemic, nursing homes do not always treat residents with the quality of care that they deserve. Long-term care facility residents should be provided with the care and compassion that they need to stay healthy and happy. 

Malnutrition and dehydration are common results of neglect or abuse in nursing homes. Because of this, it is crucial to be aware of the signs of malnutrition and dehydration in nursing home residents. 

This information can help you to protect your loved ones. If you notice any of the indications of abuse or neglect, contact a qualified Alabama nursing home attorney as soon as possible.

Dehydration in Elderly Adults

A person becomes dehydrated when they lose more water than they ingest. This reduction of fluids can be very damaging over time. Many senior citizens face chronic dehydration. This serious condition can result in a wide range of health problems, including:

  • Brain swelling
  • Failure of the kidneys
  • Seizures
  • Comas
  • Pneumonia
  • Death

If you believe your loved one is suffering chronic dehydration, check for the following common symptoms:

  • Delirium or confusion
  • Increased irritability
  • Decreases in blood pressure
  • Constipation
  • Decreased urination
  • Hurried breathing and increased heart rate
  • Dry skin
  • Dry mouth and constant thirst
  • Difficulty walking
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Lack of sweat and inability to produce tears

Many factors can contribute to dehydration. Dehydration does not necessarily indicate abuse or neglect. For instance, dehydration can be caused by certain medications, illnesses, or lack of thirst.

But in some cases, dehydration is a symptom of physical abuse or neglect. Caregivers have a responsibility to provide for the needs of nursing home residents. This includes providing adequate water and other fluids.

If a resident is experiencing dehydration, the nursing home staff should be aware and take appropriate steps to help. Failing to do so could constitute neglect.

Malnutrition in Elderly Adults

The term “malnutrition” refers to the condition that arises when a person lacks the nutrients they need. Malnutrition can be the result of a lack of access to food. It may also be caused by a diet that is lacking sufficient vitamins or other nutrients. 

Malnutrition can cause a range of health problems for older adults. An elderly person who is malnourished may suffer from:

  • Weakened immune response
  • Weakness in muscles
  • Decreased rate of healing
  • Poor internal organ function
  • Death

Malnutrition is a very serious and dangerous condition, especially for older people. This condition can affect elderly people, even if no abuse has taken place. The following factors can contribute to malnutrition:

  • Lack of teeth or inadequate dentures
  • Inability to eat without assistance
  • Loss of appetite

However, malnutrition can also be an indication of neglect. Knowing the common symptoms of malnutrition will help you advocate for your loved one. Symptoms of malnutrition include:

  • Weight loss
  • Dizziness and fatigue
  • Bleeding gums or tooth decay
  • Bloating
  • Confusion or mental fog
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Declining mental function
  • Dry skin

While malnutrition does not necessarily indicate abuse or neglect, it can. Nursing homes have a responsibility to provide well-trained caretakers and adequate nutrition to their residents. 

One good way to ensure that your loved one is being adequately cared for is to visit during meals. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect are common occurrences. Be sure to advocate for your loved one however possible. If you suspect nursing home abuse, contact a legal professional right away. 

Finding an Accomplished Nursing Home Attorney

If you or a loved one has been mistreated in the context of a long-term care facility, it is important to secure legal representation. Your family should not bear the emotional and financial damages of nursing home abuse on your own.

The qualified Alabama nursing home attorneys at Sawyer Law Firm have more than twenty-five years of experience advocating for residents and their families. We fight hard for the interests of the most vulnerable. 

Nursing home residents should be treated with dignity and respect. If your rights or the rights of a loved one have been violated, contact Sawyer Law Firm today.

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