Steps to Prevent Malnutrition in Nursing Homes
Malnutrition and dehydration affect between 35-85 percent of elderly Americans in nursing home facilities each year, despite being two of the easiest conditions to prevent. When nursing home facilities do not take proper steps to prevent malnutrition and dehydration incidents in residents, it is often an indication of nursing home abuse and neglect. There are many things that nursing homes and nursing staff can do to encourage proper nutrition and hydration among residents. Some examples include:
Drink Fluids – Many and Often
It is very important for elderly individuals to consume fluids throughout the day. Elderly men and women need to consume between two and three liters of fluids per day. Water is a great source of hydration, although nursing home staff should provide a wide variety of hydration options to residents. For example, juices, nutritional supplements, and even hot beverages, such as tea and coffee, contribute to hydration. Other alternatives to water include items such as frozen popsicles or servings of juicy fruit, such as watermelons, melons, or even oranges.
Residents should be provided with a beverage with each meal, as well as each time they are given medications to take. It is also prudent to provide other drinks during the day, for example, during programming events, such as afternoon tea or game time, and visitation time. Not only should refreshments be available to residents during programming though, but a hydration source should also be placed in each resident’s room in a location that is easy to access.
Snacks, Snacks and More Snacks
Nutrient-rich snacks and supplements should be offered to residents throughout the day. Extra protein can be consumed during the day with snacks like cheeses, or even vegetables with a side of peanut butter. Snacks that are loaded with antioxidants and vitamins, such as blueberries, dried berries, kiwi slices, or nuts are also healthy sources of good nutrients for elderly residents.
If you suspect that your loved one is victim of inadequate nutrition or is suffering from dehydration at the hands of nursing home staff or home health care staff, those responsible should be held accountable. Please contact Robert Rooth today at (847) 869-9100.