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Nursing negligence: Dehydration and Malnutrition

If you’re an adult child of an aging parent, you’ve no doubt noticed slight changes in your loved one’s personality in recent years. For instance, it is not uncommon for older people to become forgetful. It is also not surprising that an elderly person’s eating habits might change; however, if your parent resides in a West Virginia nursing facility, it is critical that you are able to determine “finicky food preferences” from nursing negligence that can cause dehydration or malnutrition.

When you help your parent transition to full-time care in a nursing facility, you automatically rely on the nursing staff to provide for his or her daily needs. You can expect all care providers to adhere to state laws and regulations at all times. There are numerous symptoms that should raise concern regarding the possibility that your loved one is not receiving adequate hydration or proper nutrition.

Signs of dehydration

The following list includes symptoms that suggest that your loved one is not drinking enough water on a daily basis:

  • He or she often complains of thirst.
  • You notice that his or her lips or mouth are dry, cracked or sore.
  • His or her skin has become increasingly dry, wrinkled or sunken in.
  • Your loved one is abnormally cranky, confused or lethargic.

There are many other symptoms of dehydration, as well, all of which should put you on alert to determine whether nursing negligence might be a root cause.

Your loved one might be suffering from malnutrition if these symptoms arise

While it is unrealistic to expect an elderly person to continue eating as much or as often as he or she did at a younger age, nursing home staff members are obligated to ensure that patients are receiving adequate nutrition. These symptoms are common among those who are malnourished:

  • Has your loved one started losing weight for no apparent reason?
  • Is he or she having trouble swallowing?
  • Have you noticed that your loved one’s abdomen looks swollen?
  • Is he or she experiencing bouts of diarrhea or constipation?

Malnutrition can become a life-threatening situation, which is why it is important to investigate any issues that have caused you concern.

Nursing negligence is inexcusable

There are no legitimate reasons why nursing staff in a West Virginia nursing home should ever be providing substandard care to your loved one or to any other patient. If you believe that you have discovered evidence of dehydration or malnutrition, you may request a meeting with nursing home administrators to discuss the issue.

If you’re not satisfied with the explanation they give you, you can take it upon yourself to further investigate the situation. Such investigations may include reaching out to local law enforcement or to legal agencies for support.

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