Malnutrition in Virginia Nursing Homes

Malnutrition in the elderly can take place when a senior is lacking the proper nutrients in his or her diet or is not getting enough food. The presence of elderly malnutrition in a nursing home may be a sign of potential mismanagement or negligence by the staff.

Nursing homes often need to identify residents that are at risk for malnutrition and implement an appropriate plan of care to ensure proper nutrition. Unfortunately, some nursing homes neglect their duty of care. As a result, residents may suffer from malnutrition, undernutrition, and a reduced quality of life.

If you suspect that your loved one has suffered from malnutrition in Virginia nursing homes, you may have the right to file a lawsuit seeking damages.

Proving Liability in Nursing Home Malnutrition Cases

Elderly individuals may already have a weaker immune system. Elder malnutrition can cause physical and mental difficulties if the elder is not properly treated or nourished. Some of the signs of elderly malnutrition may include:

  • Canker sores and excessive redness in the mouth
  • Prolonged fatigue
  • Flaccid muscle shape
  • Eye redness or swollen corneas
  • Deteriorated vision

When determining who is liable for causing malnutrition, the plaintiff may need to distinguish who perpetuated the harmful conduct. It may have been one or more staff members. It may have been a person who visited in a personal or professional capacity.

Healthcare professionals who are independent are often responsible for their own behavior. Since they may not be employed by the nursing home, they may be personally liable for their actions. In cases where an independent specialist or medical professional is the cause of malnutrition in a nursing home resident, a personal injury claim may be directed against that individual.

On other hand, the nursing facility itself is responsible for maintaining a standard of care regarding all its residents, which includes properly training, hiring, and managing the staff. According to Virginia Code 32.1-123, if a staff member of a nursing home was reckless, careless, or intentionally harmful, then the nursing home is responsible for its employees’ actions and failed to uphold its duty.

During an injury claim based on malnutrition as a result of negligence, plaintiffs may need to establish:

  • That the nursing home owed a duty of reasonable care
  • That the nursing home breached the duty of care by providing substandard care amounting to malnutrition or neglect
  • That the nursing home’s careless actions proximately caused the resident harm and should be compensated.

Statute of Limitations for Nursing Home Malnutrition Cases

In Virginia, a limited discovery rule may apply to nursing home abuse cases. While the general statute of limitations is two years from the date of the injury, the discovery rule may toll back the deadline.

Virginia Code Section 8.01-243 states that in cases where intentional falsification, fraud, or concealment prevented discovery of the injury, the filing deadline may start one year from the date the abuse was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered.

Nursing home abuse cases may not be filed beyond ten years from the date the cause of action accrues. This is known as a statute of repose, and it means that lawsuits may not be filed if more than 10 years have passed since the abuse occurred.  An exception to this may be in cases where the resident was under a legal disability at the time.

Consult a Skilled Virginia Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today

If your loved one has suffered from malnutrition due to negligence on the part of the nursing home, you may be entitled to take legal action.

A skilled attorney who is knowledgeable in cases where malnutrition in Virginia nursing homes is prevalent may be able to fight for fair compensation and hold the appropriate parties accountable. To learn more, call today.