SOUTH CAROLINA  – September 29, 2020

Elderly malnutrition is a common problem in skilled care facilities, and a violation of the resident bill of rights in accordance with The Nursing Home Reform Act under Title IV of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987.  Families of residents can monitor physical signs of malnutrition that might include:

  • Mouth – a resident’s mouth may become a bright shade of red. Canker sores may be present in addition to white patches on the cheeks, or tongue because of a yeast infection.
  • Muscular – a resident’s muscles may become flaccid, as a result of used up nutrients stored in muscle tissue causing a feeling of fatigue.
  • Eyes – may be red, glassy, or reveal swollen corneas with increased vision difficulty.
  • Cognitive – thinking becomes difficult without proper nourishment, along with listlessness and irritability, masquerading at times as dementia and confusion.
  • Skin – skin may become dull, or have a yellow discoloration resulting from malnutrition.

Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services.

About 1.3 million Americans live in nursing homes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and more than half are over the age of 75. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is charged with developing and enforcing safety and quality standards across the nation.  Many of these quality standards directly correlate with language in the resident’s bill of rights.  Services under this law should reflect:

  • Proper hygiene.
  • Maintained nursing home interior and surrounding exterior.
  • The environment should be sanitary, with proper lighting.
  • Staff provide caring, polite, and respectful interaction.
  • Home-like atmosphere for resident is maintained.
  • Meals are nutritious, served fresh and offered frequently.
  • Facility is outfitted with adequate safety equipment in resident rooms (handrails, call lights, nonskid surfaces, smoke detectors, sprinklers).
  • Meaningful activities are provided.

Consultation with an experienced attorney may prove effective in keeping residential family members safe from declining health due to conditions beyond their control, while living in a nursing home.

Standards of care.

South Carolina nursing home facilities are required to adhere to the state’s bill of rights, in addition to federal law,  that protects residents from harms damaging to their health and wellbeing, including dehydration and malnutrition, which are widespread health problems in nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities. Approximately 1/3 of U.S. nursing home residents suffer from these two maladies, and 30-50% of nursing home residents may be under weight as a result.   Many of the aforementioned ailments could be avoided with proper nutrition, and may have been caused by staff shortages, or problems with management.  An experienced elder law attorney could assist in the process of recovering damages resulting from malnutrition that led to more serious health problems that could diminish the quality of a resident’s life.

Seek counsel.

When deviation from approved medical standards of care results in harm, exacerbated illness, or the untimely passing of a nursing home resident, call an experienced attorney at the McDougall Law Offices, to discuss a potential case for damages.

McDougall Law Firm, LLC

115 Lady’s Island Commons
Beaufort, SC 29907

Phone: 843.379.7000

 

Sources.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25394167/

https://www.congress.gov/bill/100th-congress/house-bill/3545/titles

https://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t44c081.php

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_03/sr03_43-508.pdf

 

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