When many of us think about nursing home abuse or neglect in Carlsbad, California, we imagine scenarios in which patients have clearly been subjected to inadequate care. Yet nursing home neglect can be much more insidious, particularly when it involves malnutrition. What is malnutrition, exactly? An article in the Huffington Post clarifies that malnutrition simply refers to “insufficient food intake compared with nutrition requirements.”
As a recent peer-reviewed article in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care explains, “malnutrition in the nursing home is increasingly recognized as a major international research priority, given the expanding geriatric populations, serious consequences, and challenges conducting research in nursing homes.” What do you need to know about the connections between nursing home neglect and malnutrition in Southern California?
Learning More About Malnutrition Among Elderly California Residents
As the Huffington Post article explains, malnutrition has become “a growing problem among older Americans.” Each year, millions of seniors are admitted to hospitals for a wide variety of reasons, and about one-third of those patients are suffering from malnutrition at the time of their admission. When seniors are malnourished, they can be more susceptible to disease and can sustain illnesses and infections that their bodies might have been able to fight off had they been properly nourished. It is not only a concern about health and injury. Costs associated with malnutrition total about $157 billion every year.
What leads to malnutrition? Not all of these cases result from nursing home neglect. As the article explains, a wide variety of factors tend to be at work in elderly malnutrition cases, including a senior’s taste disturbances, cognitive decline, and anxiety or depression. Yet at nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in Carlsbad and throughout Southern California, we should be able to anticipate that our elderly loved ones are receiving a certain quality of care. That quality of care should include making sure that seniors in these facilities are not malnourished or at risk of malnourishment.
How many nursing home patients are considered to be malnourished? While it is difficult to obtain entirely accurate statistics, researchers estimate that anywhere from 1.5% to nearly 67% of current nursing home patients may suffer from malnutrition on some level. In a perhaps more specific measurement, the article in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care reported that, “across recent studies, approximately 20% of nursing home residents had some form of malnutrition.”
Preventing Nursing Home Neglect and Malnutrition
As the article in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care underscores, the “major consequence of malnutrition among nursing home residents” is mortality. As such, we need to take steps to ensure that seniors in nursing homes are as healthy as they can be. The first step, that article intimates, is to develop a clear and consistent definition of what we mean when we talk about malnutrition.
Then, after defining malnutrition, the onus is largely on nursing home clinicians to perform the proper screenings and diagnostic tests to determine a patient’s risk for malnutrition. Then, after such initial tests have been performed, clinicians need to monitor patients and develop individual nutrition plans that meet the needs of the patient.
Contact a Carlsbad Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer
If you have questions or concerns about nursing home neglect and malnutrition, a dedicated Carlsbad nursing home neglect lawyer can speak with you today. Contact the Walton Law Firm for more information about our services.
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(image courtesy of Geo Darwin)