Greenville, SC- Providing nutrition and hydration is among the many obligations people expect nursing homes to fulfill for their aging loved ones. Some seniors take medications or have medical conditions, dental problems, and physical disabilities which cause them become dehydrated or suffer from malnutrition. But there are many instances in which malnutrition and dehydration can be directly caused by inadequate or poorly trained staff.
When a facility is understaffed or have not trained their employees, staff may the lack the ability or resources to monitor the eating and drinking habits of their residents. Proper nutrition and hydration is essential to keeping seniors healthy and a facility fails at this task, the resident can speak to a South Carolina nursing home abuse attorney to determine if they have a legal course of action.
A nursing home and its staff could be considered negligent if they fail to:
- Provide food and water to residents and make certain that it is consumed on a regular basis
- Ensure every resident is fed with food consisting of essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins
- Provide proper supervision during meal and snack times
- Provide adequate staff to ensure residents are getting enough food and drinks
- Adequately attend to residents who require assistance to eat or drink
- Properly train staff on nutrition and feeding methods
- Monitor any problems the resident may have in chewing and swallowing
- Be aware of signs of dehydration and properly address this issue if it arises
- Properly monitor residents’ dietary restrictions or requirements as prescribed by a doctor
- Properly monitor a resident’s medications, which may have side effects increasing the likelihood of malnutrition or dehydration.
- Immediately notify a doctor if they believe a resident may become or is dehydrated;
Not providing adequate nutrition to a resident can exacerbate their current medical conditions and can create new ones for a resident. In extreme cases, dehydration or can lead to diminished health, injury or even death to a vulnerable adult.
Signs of Malnutrition can include:
- Severe, rapid, unplanned weight loss
- Poorly healing wounds
- Very easy bruising
- Dental problems
- Red, inflamed eyes
- Sudden memory problems
- Yellowing of the skin
- Muscle twitches and loss of muscle mass
- Infections or canker sores in the mouth
Signs of dehydration can include:
- Extreme thirst
- Loss of appetite
- Dry or ashy skin
- Dark-colored urine
- Feeling faint, dizzy, or light-headed
- Facial skin feeling flushed and red
- Labored breathing
If you suspect your loved one’s nutritional needs are not being met, you should file a complaint with the facility’s administrator, and the South Carolina Long Term Care Ombudsman . Reporting a facility to the relevant authorities is one way to redress the problem and force the home to make necessary changes.
However if your loved one has suffered injury because their needs are not being met, it’s time to contact a South Carolina nursing home abuse attorney. With their help you can seek compensation on behalf of your injured loved one that will cover their medical expenses and their pain and suffering.