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How Understaffed Nursing Facilities Lead To Elder Malnutrition

 Posted on January 30, 2024 in Malnutrition

Blog ImageThe struggle to maintain a suitable number of staff in nursing facilities has been an issue for many years. When nursing homes are understaffed, the standard of care is likely to plummet leading to resident neglect and as a result additional health concerns and complications. Malnutrition is a very real concern for all residents living in understaffed nursing facilities. If you have a loved one who is being mistreated or neglected in a nursing home, contact an attorney immediately to figure out what can be done.

Why Nursing Homes Are Understaffed

Many would like to blame COVID-19 as the catalyst that has led to a serious drop in nursing facility caretakers. Yes, COVID-19 did have a serious impact on an already problematic nursing shortage. However, the shortage itself started long before COVID-19 was even a thought. Nursing homes have experienced a low staff-to-patient ratio for decades which has led to too overworked staff and a high staff turnover rate. The poor pay combined with an increase in THE cost of living over the years has only worsened the shortage.

What is Malnutrition?

When there are imbalances in a person’s caloric and nutrient intake, it can cause them to become malnourished. Whether through too few or too many calories and nutrients, malnutrition is still highly problematic for any person, especially the elderly. Nursing homes primarily have a problem with undernutrition more so than overnutrition, though both can occur.

The Effects of Malnutrition in Nursing Homes

Poor nutrition affects disabled and elderly individuals the most inside nursing homes as they are more prone to illnesses and other complications. Malnutrition in elderly residents can cause a whole list of problems, which include:

  • Becoming underweight and leading to severe health problems like thin skin, anemia, and osteoporosis

  • An increase in brittle bones or frailty that could lead to an increase in slip and fall injuries

  • A weakened or compromised immune system that creates an uptick in possible diseases, illnesses, and recurring infections

  • Vitamin deficiencies that lead to scurvy or joint problems

  • Becoming dehydrated and worsening already existing conditions on top of creating new ones

You can spot malnutrition through some of the following signs:

  • Depleted muscle and fat, sunken eye sockets, low or excessive body weight in relation to age and height

  • Issues swallowing food and even water

  • Reduced appetite due to a possible gastrointestinal degradation

  • Constant and repeatable infections

  • Excessive fatigue, apathy, drowsiness, or irritability

Contact a Cook County, IL Personal Injury Attorney

Nursing homes owe your loved ones a duty of care when residing in one of their facilities. Failure to provide that care on the part of the nursing home for being understaffed is no excuse for the suffering of its residents. Contact a Chicago, IL nursing home abuse lawyer if you suspect your loved one is not receiving the care they deserve. Schwartz Injury Law can assist in your legal matters to protect the rights of your loved one while they remain in the care of a neglectful nursing facility. Call the office right away for a free consultation at 312-535-4625.

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