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Securing Compensation for Malnourishment in Nursing Homes

Securing Compensation for Malnourishment in Nursing Homes

The human body needs water and food to thrive and survive. Without these essentials, a person’s quality of life will diminish and when there is a lack of nourishment and hydration, death is likely to ensue. 

People that live in nursing homes are dependant on the care of the staff. The staff has a responsibility to check on patients, help them, feed them, and ensure their safety. But when nursing home staff are not looking after their residents the way that they should, the individuals who live in these facilities could suffer from painful conditions and develop ailments that may be life-threatening.

If you believe that your loved one in a long-term care facility in Jacksonville is not being properly treated and cared for and they have suffered harm because of this, the Jacksonville personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Sheftall & Associates can help. It could be possible to obtain compensation from the nursing home for the medical care that your loved one had to help them manage their condition in addition to the pain and suffering they endured.

How Can Malnutrition Affect the Body?

With a lack of essential nutrients and hydration, a person may suffer:

  • Immobility.
  • Organ damage.
  • Issues with the healing and recovery process.
  • Cognitive problems.
  • Instability while standing or walking.
  • Deteriorated immune system.

When you consider that those who are in nursing homes are there because they are already in a weakened physical state and have poor health, mistreatment can only make their situation much worse. Nursing home residents who are not being fed enough high-quality food sources to get the nutrition that they need may sustain severe injuries and diseases that are irreversible.

Without sustenance, the numbers of white blood cells in a person’s body will start to drop. White blood cells, which are made in bone marrow, are potent fighters of disease and infection. They are an essential part of the immune system. In the absence of white blood cells or when the blood cell count is low the body has a far harder time warding off disease and illness.

One of the responsibilities of the staff at a nursing home is to go to each of the resident’s rooms to check on them and ensure they are not in danger. These staff members are tasked with helping residents and making sure their needs are met. But in doing so, the staff are in contact with many people every day. Should a staff member catch some type of virus, it is easy to pass it on to a resident. The same is true for visitors who may also bring in an illness to the facility. Those residents that are malnourished could catch the illness and have an incredibly difficult time overcoming it.

When the flu season comes about, an average healthy adult who contracts the flu can overcome it and heal anywhere from as little as three days or to as many as 10 days. But when an elderly person gets the flu, they make up as much as 70% of the seasonal hospitalizations related to influenza infection. The elderly population at most risk, that is those individuals that are age 65 and older, are also the majority population who die from influenza. In any given flu season, 85% of the deaths from the flu are seen in the elderly.

The Importance of Good Nutrition

Securing Compensation for Malnourishment in Nursing HomesWhen a person is properly nourished their body is stronger and can function much better. Every part of a person’s anatomy from muscles to bones, and internal organs flourish. But when malnutrition takes place, a body’s organs do not function properly. The brain cannot perform, bones deteriorate, and musculature breaks down.

As we age, our bodies naturally decline. So eating the right foods is critical to supporting overhaul health and wellbeing. People who are already suffering from poor physical health cannot handle the stressors of life if they are also struggling with the effects of malnourishment.

Even if a nursing home facility is having issues attracting and keeping good staff to care for their residents, this still is not a reason that relieves them of their duty to keep their residents free from harm. When you notice that your elderly loved one is having issues with their health and wellness and you believe it is the errors and misconduct by the nursing home, the Jacksonville medical malpractice attorneys at Sheftall Law can evaluate your situation and help you hold the facility accountable for their negligence.

How Can You Spot Malnutrition?

When you visit a loved one in a nursing home, if you go regularly you will have a good idea of what is normal with respect to their demeanor, appearance, and their behavior. When a person is malnourished, they are not getting enough calories to sustain them each day. As a result, they may appear emaciated because their fat and muscle are wearing away. 

Just looking at a malnourished person’s face can be clear indicators of problems with nutrition such as:

  • Dry skin.
  • Parched hair.
  • Eyes that look sunken.
  • Cavernous cheeks.

In addition to the physical signs, there are also behavioral indicators of malnourishment including:

  • Excessive lethargy.
  • Inability to focus and concentrate.
  • Irritability.
  • High anxiety.
  • Depression.

It may also be possible that a person is being fed calories so they have weight on them, but the sources where they are getting their food from are not nourishing them. Empty calories do not help the body repair itself and remain fit. Because of this, a person that does not look gaunt can still be suffering from malnourishment.

Speak to a Jacksonville Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

At the Law Offices of Sheftall & Associates, the Jacksonville medical malpractice lawyers will aggressively pursue compensation for the damages your loved one suffered while they were staying in a nursing home. It is heartbreaking to come to know that your loved one was not properly cared for the way you expected them to be in their long-term housing facility. They deserve justice and the lawyers at Sheftall Law can assist you with filing an injury claim against the parties culpable for their harm. 

To schedule a free consultation with an attorney at Sheftall Law, please call (904) 638-7712.