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How to Protect Your Loved One From Malnutrition or Dehydration in a Nursing Home

Malnutrition or dehydration can be a dangerous result of nursing home neglect

Your loved one resides in a nursing home because she needs care that is beyond the scope of what your family can safely and realistically provide. As a family, you decided that your loved one’s needs could best be met in a professional nursing home. While you trust that your loved one will get some of the care that she needs, you worry that the nursing home will not provide her with the food or water that she needs.

Take Action Now

If you have a particular concern about your loved one’s food or water intake, then it is important to try to take action before your loved one suffers a serious injury. Specifically, you can:

  • Look at the nursing home’s staff-to-resident ratio. Inadequate staffing may mean that staff are rushed at meal time and are unable to give your loved one the individual attention that she needs to make sure that she gets the nutrition and hydration she needs.
     
  • Make sure that all staff members know about your loved one’s specific and unique needs. Your loved one may have medical conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, that requires a special diet. Your loved one may have individual needs, such as a vegetarian diet, food allergies, or general food dislikes that impact her diet. All of these things should be made known to the nursing home so that appropriate nutrition can be provided.
     
  • Make sure that any concerns are part of an individualized care plan. Any medical conditions that impact your loved one’s diet or ability to eat or drink independently should be clearly noted and alternative procedures should be included in an individualized care plan so that your loved one can be properly cared for in the nursing home.

You may watch for signs or symptoms of malnutrition or dehydration when you visit, but you are dependent on the staff providing daily care to make sure that your loved one gets the nutrition and hydration she needs.

If That Doesn’t Happen Then You Should Take Immediate Action

TThe physical consequences of malnutrition or dehydration can be swift and severe. Accordingly, it is important to notify your loved one’s doctor, to get emergency medical help, and to take legal action against the nursing home to protect your loved one’s recovery if your loved one is hurt. For more information about your loved one’s legal rights after any form of nursing home abuse or neglect, please read our FREE report, Guide for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Victims: What You Need to Know to Protect Your Legal Rights and Get Every Dollar You Deserve, or call us any time at 1-800-800-5678.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham

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