Nursing Home Neglect: Malnutrition

Posted On: June 23, 2016 under

Malnutrition can be the source of multiple health problems throughout a person’s life, but the worst issues arise when that person is most vulnerable due to age. The elderly, like the very young, have specific amounts of vitamins and minerals that they must consume in certain quantities each day to maintain their health. When they are not getting these vitamins and minerals, whether due to lack of food or to eating the wrong food, serious illnesses can be the result.

Unfortunately, malnutrition is a common outcome of nursing home neglect. If the staff member in charge of feeding residents is inattentive or untrained, he or she can do a lot of harm accidentally. Due to the fact that one staff member often oversees the diet and food consumption of multiple patients, malnutrition can easily become a problem for several residents at once. Then overworked staff members may end up missing the signs of malnutrition because they present themselves so subtly at first. By the time the problem is realized, it can be too late to reverse the damage.

This makes it crucial that both nursing home staff members and residents’ family members are aware of the most common signs of malnutrition in the elderly. They are as follows:

  • Weak Muscles
  • Mouth sores or yeast infections
  • Trouble with wounds healing
  • Sudden or dramatic weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Worsening eyesight or red and glassy eyes
  • Dementia

There are special considerations when planning meals for aging adults, from mouth and tooth problems that may make eating more difficult to medications that make food unappetizing to trouble physically feeding themselves. But all of these issues can be overcome if caretakers spend enough time determining a plan and calculating what amount of food the person must eat to stay healthy. This is a critical step in caring for an elderly adult, and it is something that every caretaker must bear in mind to keep all residents healthy and comfortable.