If your loved one starts losing weight in a nursing home, you may assume that they are being neglected by the staff and they are not getting enough to eat. That certainly could be the case. There are instances where the staff fails to provide meals, doesn’t bring people from their rooms to their meals or otherwise just does not provide enough food on a regular basis.
However, it’s important to remember that malnutrition is more than just not eating enough calories. It’s actually the process of not getting enough nutrients. Someone could get 2,000 calories a day, showing up at every single meal and not get proper nutrition.
When people do not get all of the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that they need, it can lead to significant health complications. These include eye issues and vision problems, heart disease, diabetes and a reduced ability to heal from injury or disease.
Someone who does not get enough Vitamin C, for instance, could have a weakened immune system. This leaves their body open to sickness and disease, which could prove fatal at their age. Similarly, the top killer in the United States is heart disease. If malnutrition makes it more likely, you can see why that’s a serious issue for someone who is living in a nursing home.
The elderly already deal with many of these issues as they age and their bodies weaken. Malnutrition and neglect just make it far worse. If this happens to one of your loved ones, you and your family need to know what legal rights you have.