In response to a study that found nursing home residents were being abused and neglected, Congress passed the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. This act establishes specific requirements regarding dietary intake for residents to protect against malnutrition and the resulting health problems. Unfortunately, this act has gone only so far to protect the people we love who require assistance on a daily basis.

Malnutrition FAQs

Malnutrition, Neglect and Nursing Home Facts

According to a report in 2000 by The Commonwealth Fund, approximately 85 percent of elderly individuals living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are suffering from some level of malnutrition. One of the greatest causes of malnutrition is lack of care or neglect on the part of nursing home staff and administrators. Malnutrition is neglect, which is a form of nursing home abuse, and can stem from poor staffing levels, limited food options and basic oversight.

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Signs and Symptoms of Malnutrition

The best way for you to protect against malnutrition is to keep a close eye on your loved one’s overall health. For instance, the following signs and symptoms appear when an elderly individual is malnourished:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss over a short period of time
  • Poor dental health
  • Extreme fatigue and lethargy
  • Wounds that heal slowly or not at all
  • Irritability and/or depression

These signs can be present in any elderly person living in a nursing home. There are certain populations, however, that are more at risk, including individuals with cognitive impairments and/or with swallowing disorders (dysphagia).

Malnutrition Will Lead to Further Health Problems

First and foremost, malnutrition leads to a broken down immune system due to lack of intake of proper nutrients. This compromised immune system opens an elderly person up to myriad health problems and increases the likelihood of infection. Malnutrition can also lead to:

It is important to keep a close eye on your loved ones while they are living in a nursing home or assisted living facility. One of the best things you can do is visit during mealtimes to see how much and how well your loved one is eating. You can often stop malnutrition before the situation gets worse.

Contact us at (847) 869-9100 to make arrangements to discuss your case with our attorney today.