Senior citizens in nursing homes should be able to count on the staff members to help keep them safe. Many people who work in these facilities do their best to make sure the residents are taken care of and they enjoy working with them.
Unfortunately, there are some who don't do this. They are only in the business for a paycheck. This makes them very dangerous because they can put the residents at risk.
One specific risk that senior citizens face is malnutrition. There is also a risk of dehydration. Both are troublesome because they can lead to serious health issues that are difficult for the person to overcome. In some cases, such as if a patient has dementia, they might not notice the signs that something is amiss.
If you have a loved one who is in a nursing facility, you might need to watch for signs of malnutrition and dehydration.
Malnutrition is a huge problem
Even though nursing homes should make sure that seniors are fed, one study found that up to 85 percent of the residents in these facilities are malnourished. When you look at the country as a whole, around one-third of the residents suffer from some degree of dehydration or malnourishment. These figures are comparable to what one sees in developing countries. There is no good reason why the seniors who count on others should have to deal with these statistics.
Understaffing is a big factor
Understaffing at a nursing home is a big contributing factor to this problem. Many residents might need help with their food, which requires that someone on staff give them a hand. There should be one person helping out two to three residents at a time. However, the ratios at some centers might be as high as one person having to help out 12 to 15 residents per meal. Because of the risk of high turnover rates, the problem is often compounded by having new staff members often.
Signs of malnutrition
Many things can signal that a person is suffering from malnourishment. Here are a few of the more common:
- Slow wound healing
- Frequently getting sick
- Skin issues, such as cracking or bruising
- Lack of energy
- Troubles with memory
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble swallowing or chewing
- Muscle weakness
- Weight loss
- Clothes fitting loosely
If you notice any of these signs, you need to question how your loved one is eating daily. A medical evaluation might be in order. Your loved one might consider filing a lawsuit if they suffer damages.