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Nursing Home Malnutrition

Given the aging population in America, there are many elderly people who now live in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. This includes places like Seattle, Kirkland, Olympia, and Bellingham, all of which have many nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The children of the elderly sometimes do not make it to see their relatives or parents as often as they would like, and when they do, they are very surprised to see their relative suffering from malnutrition, looking gaunt and underfed and unhealthy. When this is the case, the nursing home or assisted living facility should be held accountable for the damages to the elderly.

Reasons for Malnutrition in Nursing Homes

Malnutrition happens for a couple of different reasons. The most obvious and common reason that someone is suffering from malnutrition is that they simply aren’t being cared for or looked-after enough by the nursing home staff and personnel.

The other reason is that the nursing home and staff is not giving the elderly person the right kinds of fun and beverages to keep them healthy, which is a key distinction that needs to be understood: malnutrition is not just being underfed. It is also a case when someone is not being fed the right kinds of foods and beverages that can lead to malnutrition.

Nursing homes may put out the appearance of being caring and loving facilities that are intended to help care for people, the reality is that nursing homes are big businesses too and they are designed to make a profit, at least the for-profit nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Given this profit motive, many nursing homes become incredibly profitable by keeping their staffs as low as possible.

By minimizing staff and having as few people as possible to run their businesses, they ensure that they make profits greater than they would if they had the requisite number of people it takes to run the nursing home effectively. Or, another way a nursing home may cut corners and maximize their profits, is by failing to properly train or hire the right people for the job. And last, there are instances when the nursing home staff intentionally withholds foods and beverages from the elderly as a form of cruel abuse or as a way to exert control over the elderly person.

Signs of Malnutrition in a Nursing Home

All of us need good, healthy foods to sustain us. That includes enough protein, carbs, and healthy fats. The elderly are no different, but they may also need specialized foods and beverages as well that is uniquely tailored for them. Common and obvious signs of malnutrition are:

  • Excessive weight loss
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of strength
  • Mental impairment
  • Fatigue or tiring easily
  • Hair loss
  • Depression
  • Low blood pressure

The consequences of suffering from malnutrition over a prolonged period can be very damaging to the wellbeing and health of anyone, but especially the elderly. Obviously, if the elderly person suffers from malnutrition for a long enough period of time they could eventually and ultimately die. But even when there is not this level of extreme malnutrition, there can be really serious side effects including, but not limited to, kidney and live failure or problems, problems with the pancreas, heart problems, muscle problems, depression, and complete organ failure. Obviously, given the stakes involved, going through malnutrition can be a devastating and life-altering ordeal.

Washington State Laws Regarding Malnutrition in Nursing Homes

No elderly person deserves to suffer malnutrition while in a nursing home. A nursing home has a duty to the people who live there to make sure that they are safe and properly fed. Malnutrition is an obvious sign that negligence has taken place within the nursing home. Typically, the malnutrition is done because of neglect or being understaffed.

When asserting a claim for negligence in court against the nursing home, you have to show there was a duty that existed, the nursing home breached that duty by not feeding the elderly either enough food or the right kinds of foods, and that the elderly person’s injuries are the result of that breach of duty.

It is normally not hard to prove that there was a duty by the nursing home to properly feed the elderly. Where nursing homes typically fight people is on whether their actions were reasonable and whether the malnutrition was the result of their doing or whether the elderly person’s health problems would have happened even if they had not failed to care for them and fed them the amount of food and beverages they needed to get better.

Since the law in Washington State tends to favor the elderly more than the nursing home, the nursing home and the insurance companies who represent them tend to vigorously fight these allegations and try to argue that there was no breach or that the injuries the elderly suffered are the result of some other reason or doing. After discovering malnutrition in the elderly, it is best to immediately report this to the management at the nursing home, if they don’t know already, and contact Health and Human Services for the State of Washington, the police, and the Jackman Law Firm to see if we can help you in your time of need.

How The Jackman Law Firm can Help

After an elderly loved one or friend is mistreated by having malnutrition inflicted on them, it can be very upsetting and lead one to want to seek compensation as a form of justice for what they have endured. The Jackman Law Firm can help you recover the following:

  • Money for pain and suffering
  • Money for medical bills
  • Money for out of pocket expenses

The Jackman Law Firm has the know-how to get you the above damages paid to you by the insurance company for the nursing home. These insurance payouts are not easy to obtain because you have to prove your case by what is known as a preponderance of the evidence. This means that you have to able to prove that the malnutrition your elderly loved one has suffered is related to what the nursing home did, or didn’t do, if the evidence shows that the nursing home simply neglected your elderly loved one.

The Jackman Law Firm has the resources and experience to successfully handle your case against the insurance company. We can interview key witnesses, obtain key documents from the nursing home’s internal file, and subpoena information we need to help prove your case. This is a process that can take time to complete, but it is the best way to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

Feel free to call us for a free, confidential consultation about the strength of your case.

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