Personal Injury Lawyers in Las Vegas Discusses Injury From Malnutrition or Dehydration in Nursing Homes
Having access to water and a balanced diet are basic life needs. 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 loved has been injured due to such negligence, make sure to contact personal injury lawyers in Las Vegas to seek compensation.
How Does Dehydration or Malnutrition Arise?
Nursing home staff should take extra care to ensure 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 sufficient, employees may not understand how or be able 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 can complicate their needs.
Dangers of Malnutrition and Dehydration
Water and food are essential for the body to perform its most basic functions. A lack of 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 are also have a harder time tolerating these states and recovering from them. No one should ever have to suffer such negligence and it’s important to seek legal guidance from personal injury lawyers in Las Vegas if you or someone you know has.
Between 1999 and 2002, dehydration and malnutrition were linked to nearly 1400 deaths in nursing homes (http://nursinghomeabuseguide.com/abuse-injuries/dehydration/). 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 this water too quickly, they can swell. This may result in damage to and even rupturing of brain cells, resulting in brain damage.
- Kidney failure – Dehydration may result in the kidneys losing their ability to remove waste from the blood.
Dehydration and Malnutrition Symptoms
When visiting a loved one in a nursing home, be sure to observe him or her carefully and ask questions that may help you understand their time in the facility. Be sure to look out for symptoms of malnutrition and dehydration, such as:
- Extreme and unplanned 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 loved has experienced any of these types of symptoms as a result of negligence, contact your local personal injury lawyers in Las Vegas immediately. Sometimes you aren’t around enough to be able to determine changes that have occurred. The individuals taking care of your loved one should know and be able to answer questions regarding the following:
- 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, bruising, 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 fail 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 that residents eat and drink, even when they refuse
- Staff enough personnel that residents can be supervised or observed during meal and snack times
- Staff enough personnel so each resident that may require assistance eating or drinking has their needs met
- Train staff to understand the side effects of certain medications and treatments and how to adjust feeding and providing water
- Train staff properly to understand nutritional needs and feeding methods
- Monitor any problems a resident may have or develop regarding chewing and swallowing
When your loved one is suffering and you believe it may be due to negligence by the nursing home or it’s staff, it’s important to seek legal advice from experienced personal injury lawyers in Las Vegas who may help you seek the justice you and your loved one deserve.
Contact Your Local Personal 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 to our personal injury lawyers in Las Vegas. You can also fill out our online contact form here.