Baldwin County Bar Association
Alabama State Bar

Malnutrition and Dehydration

Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer Assisting People in the Foley Area

When you entrust a nursing home with the care of your loved one, you believe that he or she will get enough to eat and drink. Unfortunately, some nursing homes do not ensure that residents are fed enough food or provided with enough to drink. Around one-third of the 1.6 million nursing home residents around the United States may suffer from dehydration or malnutrition. Sometimes nursing homes may fail to feed nutritious food to patients, which can result in various vitamin deficiencies and health problems. If you suspect that your loved one has suffered from malnutrition or dehydration, or from another result of neglect like bedsores, it is crucial to consult an attorney as soon as possible. Whit A. Thomas is a skillful Foley nursing home negligence lawyer who may be able to help you recover compensation if you have a viable claim against a facility.

Taking Legal Action After Malnutrition and Dehydration

Warning signs and symptoms of malnutrition include excessive fatigue, sudden weight loss, irritability, dizziness, personality disturbance, depression, and brittle fingernails. Malnutrition and dehydration can endanger your loved one's health. It is important to notify the nursing home of this and obtain the appropriate medical attention. You should also contact an attorney to investigate and ensure that your family member's rights are safeguarded. When injuries have already occurred, it may be possible to recover compensation.

Malnutrition and dehydration are sometimes results of a pre-existing condition. However, these problems can also occur because nursing home care is inadequate or because of overmedication. Sometimes residents' nutrition and hydration are neglected because of understaffing and poor medical supervision.

Federal and state laws prohibit nursing home negligence that results in malnutrition and dehydration. Nursing home residents have certain rights under these laws. The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, along with other laws, requires nursing homes to meet residents' nutrition needs. Nutrition and adequate hydration are just two of the enumerated rights. Under both federal and state regulations, nursing homes must maintain specific information related to the care of residents, and this care is supposed to be documented in a nurse's notes each day. Included in these records should be how much food a resident eats and their daily output. It should also be documented if the condition of the resident changes. The initial pre-suit investigation of a nursing home claim involves getting the resident's nursing home chart and other medical records. The regulations require multiple health care providers to work in concert: nurses, dieticians, social workers, doctors, and skin care professionals.

In order to pursue damages on your loved one's behalf, your attorney will need to obtain your chart and other documentation to show the lack of nutrition and hydration and any violations of federal and state regulations. Additionally, we will need the resident's care plan, which should address nutritional and hydration needs.

Unlike medical patients, nursing home residents have the advantage of being able to review their medical records within 24 hours. We may be able to obtain copies within two working days. Even so, it is crucial to get help for your loved one right away if you believe that he or she may be a victim of poor nutrition or hydration.

In some cases, severe malnutrition and dehydration worsen a patient's condition, and the patient passes away as a result. You may be able to recover wrongful death damages. A wrongful death lawsuit in Alabama needs to be filed by the decedent's estate's personal representative, who may or may not be a family member. You can only recover punitive damages in a wrongful death lawsuit in Alabama.

Consult an Experienced Foley Attorney to Understand Your Options

Dedicated attorney Whit A. Thomas can look at the facts surrounding your loved one’s malnutrition or dehydration and fight for your rights. We take pride in keeping an open line of communication with clients at every turn in their case. We proudly represent nursing home residents and their families throughout Southern Alabama, including in Foley, Orange Beach, Summerdale, Elberta, Robertsdale, Loxley, Fairhope, Lillian, Gulf Shores, and Daphne, along with other communities in Baldwin, Mobile, Escambia, and Monroe Counties. Call (251) 943-9330 or contact us through our online form.

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