Chicago Nursing Home Malnutrition Lawyers

 

Diligent Chicago Nursing Home Malnutrition Lawyer

At Malman Law, we are passionate about helping victims of nursing home negligence and abuse.

One of the issues we most frequently see is malnutrition. Malnutrition – which results from lack of intake of essential nutrients such as iron, calcium, and vitamins A, B, and D – can cause serious health problems for elderly nursing home residents. If you believe that you or someone you love may be suffering from malnutrition in a nursing facility, we encourage you to contact one of our Chicago nursing home malnutrition lawyers right away for a free consultation.

The Truth about Malnutrition in Nursing Homes

According to research, anywhere from one third to 85 percent of the 1.6 million Americans living in nursing facilities may suffer from either malnutrition or dehydration. By comparison, members of the elderly population living outside of nursing homes experience malnutrition at a rate of just five to 10 percent. These are astonishing statistics, particularly given that in most cases malnutrition is easily avoidable with appropriate care.

Common Causes of Malnutrition among Nursing Home Residents

Malnutrition has many possible causes, many of which can arise from or become exacerbated by negligent or abusive nursing home care. If you or your loved one is receiving inadequate or inappropriate treatment in a facility, you should be wary of the increased risk for malnutrition.

The primary causes and contributing factors for malnutrition include:

  • A diet lacking in essential nutrients;
  • Mental illnesses, including dementia and schizophrenia
  • Chronic health conditions that prevent absorption of essential nutrients, including: cancer, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, and ulcerative colitis.

However, malnutrition can also be spurred by something as simple as ill-fitting dentures. Particularly in nursing homes, problems such as this, as well as isolation and lack of mobility, can easily lead to dangerous levels of malnutrition.

Your care providers have an obligation to inform you of any nutrition risks

If you have a condition or are receiving treatment that may put you at an increased risk for malnutrition, your care providers should explain the risks to you and supply a dietary plan that provides you with adequate nutrients. You should not suffer from malnutrition in a nursing home. If you do – and if the nurses, staff, or administrators at your nursing home are to blame – the attorneys in the Chicago law offices of Malman Law can help you fight for just compensation.

Malnutrition Places Nursing Home Residents at Greater Risk for Other Issues

While malnutrition itself can be an extremely dangerous condition for elderly individuals, part of what makes malnutrition so dangerous for residents is that it puts them at greater risk for additional physical and mental health concerns. For example, patients suffering from malnutrition are more likely to also suffer:

  • Anemia
  • Bedsores (pressure ulcers)
  • Impaired brain and muscle function
  • Infections
  • Increased risk of broken bones and other serious injuries from falls
  • Slower healing of wounds

Your loved one may be a victim to many types of abuse

As a result of their impaired state, nursing home residents suffering from malnutrition may also be more susceptible to abusive treatment such as financial exploitation and sexual harassment. In unsafe nursing homes, malnutrition can become part of a vicious cycle of negligence and abuse that can drastically reduce residents’ quality of life and put them at risk for life-threatening illnesses and injuries.

Warning Signs of Malnutrition

Since malnourishment happens over time, it can often be difficult for individuals and their families to self-diagnose this serious medical condition. Many people also mistakenly believe that the symptoms of malnutrition are simply consequences of old age. If you or your loved one is experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should seek experienced medical attention right away:

  • Depression and mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Inability to perform routine tasks
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen or bleeding gums
  • Swollen thyroid
  • Tooth decay
  • Unplanned and unexpected weight loss

If you notice that clothes are not fitting like they used to, or if you simply do not feel like doing things that you used to do on a regular basis, these may be warning signs of malnutrition as well.

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Know Your Rights!

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the federal rights of a nursing home resident?

Residents of facilities that participate in the Medicare program enjoy the following federal rights:

  • Freedom from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse.
  • Freedom from physical or chemical restraints, except restraints imposed for medical reasons or to insure the safety of the patient or others. Restraints imposed for reasons of discipline or convenience are illegal and are considered abuse.
  • The right to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • The right to manage your own finances or to appoint someone else to do so.
  • The right to privacy as long as it doesn’t interfere with the health, safety, or rights of others.
  • The right to use one’s personal belongings as long as it doesn’t interfere with the health, safety, or rights of others.
  • The right to information about your medical condition and any treatments.
  • The right to refuse treatment (as long as you have the mental capacity to understand the nature and consequences of such a refusal).
  • The right to use your own doctor.
  • The right to set your own daily schedule.
  • The right to as much independence as your medical condition allows you.
  • The right to a safe and comfortable environment.

Most of these rights also apply under state law, even for nursing homes that do not participate in the Medicare program.