Dehydration and Malnutrition in York County Nursing Homes
One of the fundamental responsibilities of residential nursing facilities is to feed and hydrate residents regularly. Nutrition affects all aspects of a resident’s well-being. Many cases of dehydration and malnutrition in York County nursing homes are related to abuse and neglect.
If your loved one was mistreated in a nursing home, you have the power to hold the facility accountable. Allow our dedicated nursing home abuse attorneys at Schiller & Hamilton to help you on this journey.
Laws Governing Nutrition in York County Nursing Homes
Most nursing home residents are no longer be able to take care of themselves due to age, illness, or disability. Thus, long-term care facilities should account for each resident’s medical and dietary needs to ensure they receive the proper nutrients.
South Carolina’s Omnibus Adult Protection Act, found in South Carolina Code of Laws § 43-35-5 and the Federal Code of Regulations Title 42, § 483.10-12 require that skilled nursing facilities provide their residents with adequate care and satisfy dietary requirements. When nursing homes fail to abide by these laws, they may be subject to civil and criminal penalties. Families of malnourished nursing home residents should consider speaking with a knowledgeable local attorney to evaluate their options.
Common Causes of Malnutrition and Dehydration
There are many reasons why a nursing home resident may suffer from dehydration or malnutrition. Some common underlying issues include mismanagement, under-staffing, and lack of training. Maintaining well-trained, experienced staff can be challenging, but it is not impossible.
Residents may suffer unnecessarily without competent and caring nurses, doctors, and aides. The parties in charge should have protocols in place to train and replace staff when needed.
Indications of Undernourishment
Nursing home residents are vulnerable because they rely entirely on the staff to meet their dietary needs. Additionally, they may be unable or unwilling to convey to their loved ones that they are undernourished. It is important for families to look for warning signs of malnutrition or dehydration, such as:
- Swelling or loss of color in the mouth, lips, gums, and tongue
- Lower leg edema
- Gastrointestinal issues such as constipation or diarrhea
- Bone and joint discomfort
- Repeated urinary tract infections
- Increase in falling due to weakness
- Hair loss
- Decreased muscle tone
- Brittle nails
While some medical conditions may trigger these symptoms, families should not assume that to be the case. Checking on loved ones regularly and looking for these warning signs could cease any nursing home neglect leading to life-threatening dehydration and malnutrition.
Chronic Dehydration and Malnourishment
Continued neglect and malnourishment can lead to deteriorating health. Patients may suffer varying levels of discomfort and an array of medical problems if corrective steps are not taken. Some common symptoms of chronic malnourishment include:
- Increased susceptibility to infections and other diseases
- Broken bones due to repeated falls
- Heart and other organ complications
- Mental illness (e.g., depression)
Family members may be able to prevent such problems by visiting frequently, observing, and asking questions. An experienced attorney could help family members investigate their loved one’s nursing home to determine if their medical conditions are related to malnutrition or dehydration.
Discuss Dehydration and Malnutrition in Nursing Homes with an Attorney in York County
If you believe your relative is not getting the nutrients they need, you may be unsure what to do next. Our legal team could help you take legal action and interact with the negligent nursing home.
Compassionate and experienced legal guidance is just a phone call away. Reach out to our team of dedicated lawyers to discuss how you could address dehydration and malnutrition in York County nursing homes.