Nursing home negligence and abuse undoubtedly occur in many nursing homes across the United States, each and every day. Abuse can take many forms, such as the development of bedsores, malnutrition, dehydration, physical abuse, psychological abuse, and even sexual abuse. Most cases of abuse or neglect that occur in the nursing home environment can be traced back to inadequate staff. In many instances, the nursing home staff is improperly trained regarding certain medical conditions and is unable to recognize when a resident’s state of health is in jeopardy. Other times, these forms of abuse are directly related to inadequate staffing levels, meaning there are too few staff members to care for each and every resident to the extent that each one needs.
How does abuse like this happen? Often, staff members that are over-stressed and have very limited patience can snap and hurt the residents for whom they are caring. Similarly, over-worked staff in an understaffed facility might forget to check on a resident, or administer medication to a resident, or might make mistakes concerning the care of residents because they are trying to do the work of two or more people.
Regardless of the root cause, abuse and neglect of nursing home residents is inexcusable and should never be tolerated. Some signs indicative of nursing home negligence can include the following:
- Inadequately trained staff that are uneducated when it comes to identifying the signs and symptoms of dehydration and malnutrition.
- Staff that is trained, and yet fails to identify signs of dehydration and malnutrition in residents and/or address the signs of dehydration and malnutrition.
- Failure to provide food that is rich in vitamins and minerals and water and other fluids to ensure adequate hydration.
- Improper adherence to doctor’s instructions with regards to a resident’s dietary restrictions or medical treatment, such as physical exercise, medication dosages or other treatment instructions.
- Staff inattentiveness or failure to monitor residents during meal times to make sure all residents are eating enough food and do not appear to be struggling with eating.
- Lack of proper supervision of residents in general, especially those residents with a history of accidental falls or wandering or eloping tendencies.
- Staff that is improperly trained with regards to special feeding procedures for residents with feeding tubes, or those residents who require other specialized feeding instruments.
- Failure to notify the appropriate parties when cases of dehydration or malnutrition are suspected, such as a doctor or the nursing home’s management.
Proper hydration, nutrition and supervision keep elderly residents safe and healthy. Nursing home staff is placed in a position of trust with regard to the care and well-being of the residents for whom they care. When staff members do not care about their residents, it shows, and the residents are the ones who get hurt the most.
Contacting a Dehydration or Malnutrition Lawyer
If you are concerned or suspect that your loved one’s nutrition or hydration needs are not being met, your first step should be to file a formal complaint with the nursing home’s management; your second step should be to contact an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorney. Please contact the Rooth Law Firm today at (800) 598-4348 or online for a free consultation.