Nursing Home Malnutrition / Dehydration Lawyers Serving Spartanburg and Greenville, S.C.
Food and water are essential to life. When an elderly person needs nursing home care, he or she relies on nursing home staff for access to enough food and water to live. When these needs are not adequately met, malnutrition or dehydration can cause serious injury or even death.
Many cases of malnutrition and dehydration result from neglect on the part of nursing home staff. Often, the family may not realize that a loved one is not getting the sustenance he or she needs until it is too late.
If you believe your elderly loved one has suffered harm in a nursing home due to malnutrition or dehydration, you deserve an investigation to determine what happened. The experienced nursing home injury attorneys at Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C., can help. We serve clients throughout Spartanburg, Greenville and Upstate South Carolina. Simply call or contact us online today to get started in your case.
How Does Malnutrition and Dehydration Occur in Nursing Homes?
Malnutrition occurs when the body does not get the balance of food it needs to carry out its various life functions. Because our bodies need a wide range of vitamins and minerals to function properly, it is possible to suffer from malnutrition even when one is getting an adequate number of calories.
Signs of malnutrition include:
- Weight loss
- Fatigue or dizziness
- Swollen or bleeding gums and tooth decay
- Dry skin, fragile bones, muscle loss and weakness
- Mental decline, memory loss and confusion.
For nursing home patients who have trouble chewing or swallowing food or who refuse to eat certain foods, malnutrition can be addressed with vitamin supplements or alternate forms of feeding such as tube feeding. However, patients who must receive nutrition through a tube face specific health risks, including aspiration pneumonia, which must be monitored carefully.
Dehydration occurs when the body does not get the amount of water it needs. Neglect is the most common cause of dehydration in nursing homes. Staff may forget or refuse to give patients enough fluids. Like foods, fluids may be provided through a tube or IV when a patient cannot swallow them safely, but these methods come with additional risks that must also be watched.
Signs of dehydration include:
- Thirst and dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Dizziness, fainting, fatigue and muscle weakness
- Dry skin or skin that is flushed (red)
- Dark-colored urine.
Severe dehydration can cause vomiting, difficulty breathing and seizures. Severe dehydration is life-threatening and should be treated as a medical emergency.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for Malnutrition and Dehydration in Nursing Homes?
When nursing home malnutrition or dehydration is the result of neglect, it is essential to look at the actions of individual staff members who are responsible for making sure patients get proper nutrition and fluids.
However, the nursing home itself may also be responsible. For instance, a nursing home that failed to perform a background check on a staff member who had neglected patients in the past or had no policies for monitoring nutrition and hydration in patients may share part or all of the liability if malnutrition and dehydration has caused serious harm to your loved one.
How Can A Spartanburg Nursing Home Injury Lawyer Help Me?
When a loved one is injured by nursing home neglect, the entire family deserves answers. Your attorney can initiate the process by reviewing reports and medical records, interviewing witnesses and observing nursing home procedures to determine what happened and how best to hold the nursing home accountable.
If you know or believe that a loved one has suffered harm from malnutrition or dehydration while in a nursing home, contact the attorneys at Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C., today for a free case consultation.