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Is your loved one suffering neglect in a nursing home?

Any licensed caregiver working in a West Virginia nursing home has undergone training and instruction regarding patient safety and health issues. For instance, a caregiver in a nursing facility learned how to move a patient in bed or to a wheelchair without causing him or her injury. Sadly, if your loved one does suffer injury in a nursing home or exhibits signs of ill health, such as those caused by malnutrition, it might constitute signs of neglect. 

Many people who have loved ones in nursing homes are not able to visit them every day. In fact, sometimes an adult son or daughter might live in another state, making it difficult to monitor an environment to make sure staff are providing quality care. Regarding malnutrition, there are several symptoms to watch for (or listen for, as many times, one discovers neglect when a patient speaks of hunger, thirst, pain or discomfort) and, if necessary, to investigate. 

A person suffering malnutrition isn’t necessarily underweight 

When you imagine a person suffering from malnutrition, you might picture someone with a distended abdomen who is so skinny that the outlines of bones are visible on the body. The fact is, however, many people suffering from malnutrition are of normal body weight but are sorely lacking much-needed nutrients. If you suspect that your loved one isn’t receiving enough food or the right types of food in a nursing home, don’t disregard your suspicion simply because he or she is not “skin and bones.” 

These symptoms are red flags that warn of malnutrition 

If your loved one resides in a West Virginia nursing home and exhibits any of the symptoms included in the following list, it merits further inquiry:  

  • Inflammation of mouth or tongue 
  • Wounds slow to heal 
  • Chronic fatigue 
  • Intense irritability, depression or mood swings 
  • Frequent illness or infections 
  • Syncope (fainting) 
  • Hair falling out 
  • Bone fractures 

There are numerous other symptoms that may arise because of malnutrition, as well. It is always best to seek medical intervention, especially if a nursing home patient experiences more than one symptom on this checklist.  

Food deprivation is often a tool of nursing home abuse 

If a medical worker is abusing a nursing home patient, mistreatment might include food deprivation. This often occurs in conjunction with threats or bribery (i.e., “I’ll give you food if you…”) from caregivers. If your loved one suffers from dementia or some other neurodegenerative disease, he or she may be unable to inform you of food deprivation tactics, which is why it’s critically important to watch for signs of malnutrition. A West Virginia civil court judge can hold a medical worker accountable when malnutrition or other types of neglect occur. 

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