Experienced New Jersey Nursing Home Malnutrition & Dehydration Attorneys
Friends and family of elderly adults should not have to fear for the safety of their loved ones in long-term care facilities, nursing homes, hospitals or private residences.
The tragic reality, however, is that abuse and neglect occur far too often in such institutions, causing real harm to elderly residents and patients. Two common signs of this harmful abuse and neglect are malnutrition and dehydration. In fact, research has indicated that nearly 2 in every 3 nursing home residents is malnourished or is at risk for becoming malnourished.1
At Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi, P.C., our nursing home and elder abuse lawyers have decades of experience advocating the rights of the elderly who have been victimized by abuse and neglect.
We are highly dedicated to and skilled at:
- Aggressively investigating claims of elder abuse and neglect, including those involving malnutrition and dehydration at nursing homes
- Holding all abusers and enablers accountable for their damaging, negligent actions
- Helping our clients navigate the legal system so they can obtain the justice and financial recovery they deserve.
Our attorneys are ready to work tirelessly to restore and preserve you and your loved ones’ dignity while fighting systemic elder and nursing home abuse.
Have You or a Loved One Suffered Malnutrition or Dehydration
in a Nursing Home or Other Care Facility?
Call (201) 585-9111 or Email Us for Free, Confidential Answers Regarding a Potential Claim
Contacting us does not establish an obligation to retain us. It can, however, provide you with the insights and answers necessary to take the right steps moving forward.
What Causes Malnutrition & Dehydration? Why Are Malnutrition & Dehydration Problems in Nursing Homes?
Malnutrition and dehydration can arise from various physical, social, psychological and environmental factors, like (but not necessarily limited to):
- Health impairments – Chronic illness and certain medications may impact appetite and/or the body’s ability to properly take in or retain fluids. Other conditions, like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, may prevent the elderly from remembering to eat and/or drink enough fluids. Additionally, conditions that make it difficult to chew and/or swallow can increase the risk of malnutrition and/or dehydration.
- Reduced or limited social contact – This can give rise to a loss of interest in eating meals or drinking fluids.
- Depression – This condition can lead to loneliness, grief, lack of mobility and disinterest in socializing. It can also result in decreased appetite and a general lack of attention to one’s needs, which can include not drinking enough fluids.
- Alcohol or drug use – Alcohol and certain drugs can impact appetite and thirst. They can also deplete the body’s nutrients and have diuretic effect, increasing the risk for malnutrition and dehydration.
- Abuse or neglect – Physical, emotional and other abuse can exacerbate health impairments, cause depression and/or trigger alcohol or drug use, any or all of which can contribute to malnutrition and dehydration. Additionally, staff outright neglecting to feed and/or provide sufficient fluids to residents, especially those who are unable to eat and drink on their own, can result in malnutrition and dehydration.
What Are the Symptoms of Malnutrition & Dehydration?
Malnutrition can be marked by symptoms like (but not limited to):
- Confusion, disorientation and/or dizziness
- Dry skin, brittle hair and/or ridged nails
- Loss of appetite
- Sudden weight loss and/or visible muscle loss
- Easy bruising and slow wound healing.
Dehydration can be associated with symptoms like (but not limited to):
- Confusion, disorientation and dizziness
- Sunken cheeks and/or eyes
- Less frequent urination and/or urine that is particularly dark in color.
If your loved one is living in a nursing home or other care facility, being aware of these symptoms can be pivotal to knowing when to take action to seek help for a loved one – and when to carry out further inquiries about potential abuse or neglect.
What Are the Effects of Malnutrition & Dehydration?
For the elderly, malnutrition and dehydration can cause significant cognitive and physical impairments, which can result in:
- Serious risks of additional injuries – For example, the disorientation and dizziness caused by malnutrition or dehydration can increase the risk of falls, which are the number one cause of serious and fatal injuries among the elderly.
- Weakened immune systems – This can make it far more difficult for elderly adults to effectively fight mild, common infections, viruses and ailments. It can even make illnesses like influenza deadly.
- Lasting damage – Seizures, brain damage, organ failure and other severe complications can arise when elderly adults are deprived of essential nutrients and fluids. In the worst cases, these complications can cause loss of consciousness, if not trigger potentially fatal outcomes.
Is Malnutrition or Dehydration a Sign of Neglect?
Malnutrition and dehydration are not always a sign of nursing home abuse or neglect, but they certainly can be. As a result, it’s always important to take a closer look at a loved one and his or her situation when you recognize the signs of malnutrition and/or dehydration.
This is because dehydration and malnutrition can indicate that nursing home personnel are:
- NOT properly trained to recognize and appropriately respond to the signs of dehydration or malnutrition
- NOT assisting residents with eating and drinking, especially when residents have any physical or mental condition that prevents them from ingesting essential nutrients and fluids
- NOT monitoring or caring for residents as they should.
In some cases, the lack of oversight that causes residents’ dehydration and malnutrition may be caused by insufficient staff at the facility.
When Malnutrition or Dehydration Results from Neglect or Abuse: Who’s Liable?
Whenever malnutrition or dehydration arises from neglect or abuse, the parties who are liable will depend on the details associated with the case. In general, liability for these cases can fall on the:
- Staff members who have neglected or abused residents
- Facilities that have failed to hire sufficient staff, have hired unqualified staff or have policies that contribute to the neglect of residents.
A lawyer at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi, P.C. can provide you with more specific answers about liability and your potential claim in a free, confidential, no obligations case review.
If you or a loved one has suffered malnutrition or dehydration as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect, call (201) 585-9111 or email us to talk to an experienced New Jersey nursing home abuse & elder abuse lawyer at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi, P.C. We are ready to partner with you in the pursuit of financial recovery and justice.
Backed by more than 90 years of personal injury experience, our attorneys have knowledge, skills, courage and resources to:
- Provide you with extraordinary advocacy and the highest quality legal services
- Level the playing while we outsmart and out-fight the opposition
- Resolve your case as successfully as possible.
When you partner with us, we will advance all costs necessary for your case, and we will only charge agreed-upon legal fees if we are able to recover for you and your claim.
Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi’s long-standing record of success and superior legal service in nursing home abuse (and other personal injury) cases has earned us numerous professional honors and recognitions, as well as 5-star ratings on Google and Facebook.
1: 2013 Nursing Home Resident Malnourishment Study