Malnutrition in Maryland Nursing Homes

A variety of chronic and severe diseases associated with aging could be caused by malnutrition. Over-nutrition and under-nutrition are covered under the term malnutrition. In a majority of Maryland nursing homes, under-nutrition is more prevalent.

Being under-nourished could lead to numerous health issues that could have been easily preventable with adequate nutrition. It is typically the lack of concern and carelessness of the staff that leads to such cases of Malnutrition in Maryland nursing homes. Reach out to a compassionate attorney if you or a loved suffered from malnutrition.

Malnutrition Regulations Applicable to Nursing Homes

In accordance with The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987, federal regulations term any weight loss over 5 percent of the total body weight in the past month or more than 10 percent in the previous six months as “unacceptable weight loss in a nursing home”.

The standards of care specified by Medicare dictate that the resident of a nursing home must adhere to acceptable limits of nutritional status including protein levels and body weight. The exception is when this is not possible because of the resident’s clinical state. It also stipulates that residents with problems be given a therapeutic diet.

While it is essential to ensure proper nutrition, exceptions could occur if a resident who is wholly competent refuses nutritional support despite being made aware of possible consequences and declares their intention in writing with supporting witnesses.

Another exception is someone who is terminally ill and has executed a medical directive or living will that prohibits tube feeds in the event of impending death or a terminal illness.

Signs of Malnutrition

It could be necessary for Maryland nursing homes to pinpoint residents who are vulnerable to malnutrition and take steps to make sure they get adequate nutrition.

It may be essential to evaluate the resident for malnutrition at the time of admission if there is a change in condition. The residents are recommended to be checked out at a frequency of every three months during the course of their stay. Many families may check at a more regular frequency.

Individuals who have suffered dehydration or malnutrition are recommended to reach out to an accomplished lawyer with experience in nursing home cases.

Some of the risk factors for malnutrition are:

  • A history of malnutrition
  • Those with body weight under 100 pounds
  • Presence of pressure sore
  • Unintended weight loss of 5 percent or more in a month
  • Unintended weight loss of 10 percent or more in six months
  • Those subjected to tube feeding
  • Laboratory values that point at dehydration or malnutrition

Nursing Staff as a Cause of Malnutrition

It could be possible that the nursing home staff is the reason for the increase in malnutrition of senior citizens in Maryland. The responsibility of picking appropriate meal options for 9 to 10 residents and offering them meals often falls on a single staff member.

Many times, in the evenings, a single certified nursing assistant might be in charge of nearly 15 patients. This is typically an extremely inappropriate ratio since research indicates that ideally there must be one certified nursing assistant for every 2 to 3 patients. This type of inadequate staffing could be a reason for malnutrition in nursing homes in Maryland.

High employment turnover rate could also be another cause when it comes to certified nursing assistants. Training deficiencies and practical errors are possible fallouts.

Legal Recourse in Elderly Malnutrition Cases

If you suspect that your elderly loved one is suffering from malnutrition pertaining to inadequate care from the nursing home staff, you might need adequate guidance on the matter.

Speak to a skilled Maryland nursing home abuse attorney about pursuing a lawsuit to seek adequate compensation if the nursing home has failed to care for its residents with regard to nutrition and food.