Having access to water and a balanced diet are basic life necessities. Malnutrition and dehydration are tragically, among the most common health problems for individuals residing in nursing homes. In some cases malnutrition and dehydration are due to medication, dental surgeries, and other conditions. In many cases, dehydration and malnutrition are the result of negligence on the part of the nursing home or its staff. If someone you love has been affected by such negligence, make sure to contact our personal injury lawyers in Las Vegas to seek compensation.
How Does Dehydration or Malnutrition Arise?
Nursing home staff should take extra care to make sure their wards are taken care of and to know when this requires extra work or monitoring. When a nursing home is understaffed or the training is not enough, employees may not understand how to conduct proper monitoring of its patients. It’s important that the nursing home’s staff keep a close eye on the eating and drinking habits of its residents, especially since many individuals may require assistance or have conditions that can complicate their needs.
Dangers of Dehydration & Malnutrition
Water and food are essential for the body to perform its most basic functions. Insufficient water or nutrients can weaken the body and make a person more susceptible to illness, especially when they are older. Elderly individuals are at much greater risk of developing hydration and nutrition problems and also have a harder time tolerating and recovering from them. No one should ever have to suffer such negligence and if you or someone you know has, it’s important to seek legal guidance from our personal injury lawyers in Las Vegas.
Between 1999 and 2002, dehydration and malnutrition were linked to nearly 1400 deaths in nursing homes. Chronic and severe dehydration in elderly individuals may result in very serious complications, such as:
- Weakened immune system
- Memory loss
- Swelling of the brain – When attempting to correct for dehydration, a resident may be given too much water. If brain cells try to absorb water too quickly, they can swell. This may result in damage and even rupturing of brain cells, resulting in brain damage.
- Kidney failure – Dehydration may result in the kidneys inability to remove waste from the blood.
Dehydration & Malnutrition Symptoms
When visiting a loved one in a nursing home, be sure to observe them carefully and ask questions that may help you to understand their time in the facility. Make sure to look out for symptoms of malnutrition and dehydration, such as:
- Extreme and unexplained weight loss
- Wounds that aren’t healing normally
- Easy bruising
- Dental issues
- Aversion to food and lack of participation in mealtime
- Red, inflamed eyes
- Inability to answer simple questions, confusion
- Sudden memory issues
- Yellowing skin
- Muscle spasms and loss of muscles
- Infections or canker sores around the mouth
- Extreme thirst
- Loss of appetite
- Dry or ashy skin
- Dark urine
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Labored breathing
If someone you love has experienced any of these types of symptoms as a result of negligence, contact your personal injury lawyers in Las Vegas immediately. Oftentimes family members are not around enough to notice changes that have occurred in their family member. The individuals taking care of your loved one should be able to answer these questions:
- Does your loved one take part in meal times?
- Does your loved one have an enlarged thyroid?
- Have there been any sudden changes to your loved one’s weight, muscle mass, interest in food, or memory?
- Has your loved one experienced any diarrhea?
- Has your loved one demonstrated any of the above symptoms of dehydration and malnutrition?
Is it Negligence?
Incompetent or negligent staff may not be able to keep sufficient records of each resident’s needs and behavior. Older individuals may not be aware of their needs or how dehydrated or malnourished they are, making it difficult or impossible for them to ask for help. When proper records aren’t kept and staff can’t anticipate specific needs for individual residents, dehydration and malnutrition may occur. It may be considered negligence if the nursing home and its staff fails to do any of the following:
- Provide food and water and ensure each is consumed on a regular basis
- Ensure the diet of each resident contains all necessary vitamins, minerals, proteins, etc.
- Monitor residents’ eating and drinking habits as well as IV fluid replacement
- Remain vigilant and aware of signs of dehydration
- Encourage residents to eat and drink, even when they refuse
- Staff enough personnel to adequately supervise and observe residents during snack and meal times
- Staff enough personnel so each resident has their personal needs met
- Train staff to understand the side effects of certain medications and treatments
- Train staff properly to understand nutritional needs and feeding methods
- Monitor any problems a resident may have or develop regarding chewing and swallowing
Getting Help For Your Loved One
When your loved one is suffering and you believe it may be due to negligent nursing home staff members, it’s important to seek legal advice from our experienced personal injury lawyers in Las Vegas. We are here to help you seek the justice you and your loved one deserve.
Elder Abuse Injury Lawyers in Las Vegas for Legal Representation
With over 15 years of experience handling personal injury lawsuits of all types, you can trust Harris & Harris Injury Lawyers for your legal needs. Give us a call at (702) 384-1414 to speak with our personal injury lawyers in Las Vegas.