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Phoenix Malnutrition Lawyer

Most elderly people have an assortment of physical disorders and illnesses. In a population already frail and ill, dehydration and malnutrition can be life-threatening. Yet a significant portion of the million-plus residents of US-certified nursing homes tend to suffer from these conditions. In fact, various researchers have reported that hydration abnormalities are rampant among nursing home residents. There are many reasons for residents not eating enough, eating right, and taking in enough fluid, but appropriate monitoring by nursing home staff would identify the problems and allow them to be corrected before they adversely affect residents health and function. Did nursing home neglect lead to your loved one’s malnutrition? At Knapp & Roberts, a Phoenix malnutrition lawyer is an expert at handling claims for resting home negligence and elder abuse in Arizona.

How a Phoenix Malnutrition Lawyer Can Help

At Knapp & Roberts, our Phoenix malnutrition lawyers are skilled and knowledgable in all areas of nursing home abuse and neglect law. We are compassionate and driven to help families, and their loved ones pursue negligent nursing homes to stop current cases of abuse and neglect and prevent new ones. Our legal professionals do so by handling all of your legal needs, from making a legal claim through trial litigation.

This may involve any of the following and more:

  • Assisting you in filing malnutrition or other abuse reports with the proper authorities;
  • Interviewing eyewitnesses and gathering documentary evidence;
  • Reviewing all medical and facility records;
  • Hiring expert medical witnesses;
  • Corresponding with the facility and any insurance companies;
  • Representing your best interests during settlement talks or negotiations;
  • Filing a civil lawsuit in a timely and effective manner; and
  • Proceeding with a trial when necessary.

Nursing home abuse and neglect cases are complex and time-consuming to present and prove. These cases are also time restricted by state law so contact Knapp & Roberts for your complimentary consultation now.

Please do not accept a settlement offer or sign documentation without speaking to one of our attorneys. You could lose the ability to recover the compensation your loved one deserves.

Malnutrition and Its Consequences

Malnutrition is the lack of sufficient nutrients needed to feed the natural physical processes of the body. Most people associate it with simply not getting enough to eat, but it can also be caused by diets that don’t have the proper balance of nutrients and the inability to absorb the nutrition which is ingested. Among nursing home residents, malnutrition can be the result of:

  • Unbalanced meals
  • Residents’ inability to feed themselves
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Chewing difficulties
  • Digestive difficulties
  • Depression or mental problems that cause residents to lose interest in food (and drink)
  • Decreased senses of taste and smell, which makes eating more of an obligation than a pleasure

Inadequate nutrition both weakens people and interferes with their normal healing processes. Malnutrition puts your loved ones at increased risk for many of the most common injuries and illnesses that afflict nursing homes including the following:

  • Bedsores
  • Falls
  • Fractures (from falls and other causes)
  • Reduced mental function
  • Depression

If your loved one suffered in a nursing home as a result of malnutrition, contact our Arizona elder abuse attorneys for a free case consultation.

Dehydration and Its Consequences

Dehydration occurs when a person loses more water than they take in and is especially common in Phoenix, AZ due to the extreme temperatures. It’s generally defined as mild when the victim has lost 2 percent or less of body weight, and as severe once body weight has dropped 4 percent or more.

Advanced age is one of the major risk factors for dehydration. Net loss of fluid may be caused by simply not taking in enough fluid for various reasons (including deliberate fluid reduction to avoid bladder control problems), but there are several other potential causes among nursing home residents:

  • Difficulty obtaining drinks themselves (a particular problem if the resident has difficulty communicating or the staff is overwhelmed)
  • Diarrhea
  • Medicine with diuretic effects (common for high blood pressure and other conditions prominent in the elderly) or that causes sweating
  • Loss of kidney function
  • Dietary changes that reduce the amount of liquid obtained from food

Even mild dehydration can be a problem in some patients, for example, those who already have heart or kidney problems. More severe dehydration can lead to or exacerbate existing conditions:

  • Dementia and confusion
  • Weakness
  • Immune system problems
  • Bed sores
  • Wrongful Death of a loved one

The Role of Nursing Home Neglect in AZ

The facility and its staff need to be aware of the nature, causes, and effects of malnutrition and dehydration. They especially need to know which residents are most at risk and make extra efforts to ensure that these residents eat and drink adequately and are monitored for weight loss—all of which requires adequate numbers of staff, that the staff be adequately trained, and that the staff be competent and interested in doing their jobs. Failure in any of those areas can amount to neglect. If your loved one is facing signs of neglect and malnutrition in the resting home you might want to consider legal action with help of our Phoenix malnutrition attorneys. We have years of experience helping victims in Maricopa County.

How Nursing Homes Can Help Prevent Malnutrition

Preventing malnutrition is the legal responsibility of nursing homes and part of each resident’s care plan. There are several daily and monthly routines that should alert nursing home staff to malnutrition and dehydration in residents, like scheduled meals and monthly weigh-ins.

In addition, nursing home staff must include a licensed dietician by federal law to handle each resident’s specific meal requirements. Medicare also regulates facilities for patient care violations like resident weight loss from malnutrition. These regulatory measures should help keep residents within healthy physical guidelines for body weight and hydration.

Other ways nursing homes can help prevent malnutrition in residents include, but are not limited to:

  • Weekly weigh-ins for at-risk residents;
  • Careful attention and charting of resident food and water intake;
  • Added food choices for residents;
  • Relaxed meals with suitable dining partners;
  • Preparing and presenting food in an appealing manner and at proper temperature;
  • Making foods more flavorful with herbs and spices to compensate for lost taste and smell;
  • Using easy-to-open packages;
  • Assessing and eliminating barriers to eating like mouth and hand function;
  • Cutting food or feeding residents who need help;
  • Providing snacks or supplements in between meals to increase caloric intake.

When nursing home staff are unable or are ineffective at increasing a resident’s caloric intake or hydration, the resident’s condition should be noted, and a supervising nurse alerted.

How You Can Help Prevent Nursing Home Malnutrition

You can help prevent nursing home malnutrition by watching for signs and symptoms of malnutrition and dehydration in your loved one.

Signs and symptoms of malnutrition may include:

  • Weight loss;
  • Dull, dry hair;
  • Muscle weakness;
  • Sensitivity to cold; and
  • Delayed reflexes.

Dehydration may manifest as any of the following or more:

  • Weight loss;
  • Fatigue;
  • Paleness;
  • Dark urine;
  • Dry mouth;
  • Swelling;
  • Confusion;
  • Dry skin;
  • Cramps;
  • Confusion; and
  • Low blood pressure with an elevated heart rate.

Seek help with your loved one’s health by:

  • Reporting these symptoms to nursing home staff and management as well as your loved one’s physician;
  • Encouraging your loved one to eat and drink more food and fluids per their dietary restrictions; and
  • Making personal notes as to your loved one’s progression and their fluid and food intake, along with any nursing home action or inaction.

If there are still issues, get in touch with the proper authorities and an elder abuse attorney immediately for guidance.

A History of Helping People

A Phoenix malnutrition attorney at the law firm of Knapp & Roberts has successfully handled many nursing home neglect cases, including claims for malnutrition and dehydration. Our Phoenix malnutrition attorneys understand the important Arizona and federal laws protecting nursing home residents, and we are taken very seriously by the Phoenix malnutrition lawyers who defend the nursing homes. When the nursing homes try to avoid responsibility by deflecting blame onto the residents (they were uncooperative; they deceived the staff about their food and fluid intake), we know how to respond.

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The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona, at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.