Minnesota Nursing Home Malnutrition


Nursing Home Neglect Sudden Weight Loss From Failing to Assist With Eating, Malnutrition

Nursing Home Neglect Sudden Weight Loss From Failing to Assist With Eating, Malnutrition

Malnutrition – Slowly Starving to Death

Diet is everything – if you are not getting healthy and nutritious meals throughout the day, then your entire lifestyle will suffer.  We need healthy food to fuel us and to keep our bodies strong. The elderly especially need this nourishment in order to battle infection, or to recover from injuries or surgery.  Many elderly patients have specific dietary needs for their conditions which should be monitored and controlled, such as diabetes.  Unfortunately, due to the carelessness in numerous nursing homes across Minnesota, many residents are suffering from preventable malnutrition because their dietary needs are not being met.  If you suspect that a nursing home is not providing adequate meals to the patients, it is important to contact a Minnesota nursing home elder abuse and neglect lawyer right away.

The Nursing Home Has a Legal Duty to Prevent Malnutrition

It is the nursing homes’ responsibility to provide personal nutritional services to each patient. This means that every patient’s diet should be monitored carefully and adhered to, based on an evaluation done by a physician.  It is also the responsibility of the nursing home to employ a qualified and registered dietitian to ensure that the residents are receiving the right nutritional intake to avoid weight lost and malnutrition.  Furthermore, the nursing home should document the food intake of each patient including what they ate the amount and when.  There is a need to ensure the resident is consuming enough calories and protein to maintain their health.

Malnutrition Includes Sudden Weight Loss

The nursing home has a duty to ensure that a resident is not experiencing more that 5% weight loss.

One of the main reasons malnutrition takes place in nursing homes is because the facility is understaffed and thus there are not enough nurses on board to ensure that every residents is personally taken care of.  However, malnutrition, regardless of the excuse, is a serious form of nursing home neglect and should not be tolerated, no matter what.

Minnesota law requires that a nursing home must have on duty at all times a sufficient number of qualified nursing personnel, including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and nursing assistants to meet the needs of the residents at all nurses’ stations, on all floors, and in all buildings if more than one building is involved.  This includes relief duty, weekends, and vacation replacements.

Minnesota Rule 4658.0015 states that a nursing home must operate and provide services in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and codes, and with accepted professional standards and principles that apply to professionals providing services in a nursing home.

Minnesota Rule 4658.0105 mandates that a nursing home must ensure that direct care staff are competent and able to demonstrate competency in skills and techniques necessary to care for residents’ needs, as identified through the comprehensive resident assessments and described in the comprehensive plan of care, and are able to perform their assigned duties.

Maintain acceptable parameters of nutritional status. (42 CFR § 483.25 (i))

Nutrition. Based on a resident’s comprehensive assessment, the facility must ensure that a resident—

(1) Maintains acceptable parameters of nutritional status, such as body weight and protein levels, unless the resident’s clinical condition demonstrates that this is not possible; and

(2) Receives a therapeutic diet when there is a nutritional problem. (42 CFR § 483.25 (i))

The Nursing Homes Must Provide Residents with “Quality of Care” Which Includes Avoiding Malnutrition

According to 42 CFR § 483.25, quality of care, each resident must receive and the facility must provide the necessary care and services to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being, in accordance with the comprehensive assessment and plan of care.

(a) Activities of daily living. Based on the comprehensive assessment of a resident, the facility must ensure that—

(1) A resident’s abilities in activities of daily living do not diminish unless circumstances of the individual’s clinical condition demonstrate that diminution was unavoidable. This includes the resident’s ability to—

(i) Bathe, dress, and groom;

(ii) Transfer and ambulate;

(iii) Toilet;

(iv) Eat; and

(v) Use speech, language, or other functional communication systems.

(2) A resident is given the appropriate treatment and services to maintain or improve his or her abilities specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section; and

(3) A resident who is unable to carry out activities of daily living receives the necessary services to maintain good nutrition /avoid malnutrition, grooming, and personal and oral hygiene.

Malnutrition – Vulnerable Adults Act

Pursuant to Minnesota Statute § 626.5572, Subd. 17., “neglect” means:

(a) The failure or omission by a caregiver to supply a vulnerable adult with care or services, including but not limited to, food, clothing, shelter, health care, or supervision which is:

(1) reasonable and necessary to obtain or maintain the vulnerable adult’s physical or mental health or safety, considering the physical and mental capacity or dysfunction of the vulnerable adult; and

(2) which is not the result of an accident or therapeutic conduct.

(b) The absence or likelihood of absence of care or services, including but not limited to, food, clothing, shelter, health care, or supervision necessary to maintain the physical and mental health of the vulnerable adult which a reasonable person would deem essential to obtain or maintain the vulnerable adult’s health, safety, or comfort considering the physical or mental capacity or dysfunction of the vulnerable adult.

Malnutrition Symptoms and Complications

Malnutrition can come in many forms. Those who are missing an important vitamin or mineral from their diet may look different than those who are receiving proper meals. Scurvy can occur from a lack of vitamin C while anemia can occur from a lack of iron. Symptoms of malnutrition include fatigue, fainting, dizziness, pale complexion, weight loss, weight gain and decreased immune response. In some instances, malnutrition may lead to a severe complication and possibly hospitalization. Often a blood test that shows high levels of sodium and low serum albumin will confirm malnutrition in the patient.

Contact Us For a Free Consultation

If a nursing home is not providing an adequate level of health care and support, then it is important that the authorities be notified right away and that the nursing home neglect stops immediately.   A Minnesota nursing home elder abuse and neglect lawyer can help you hold the nursing home accountable for failing to provide proper nourishment and care.

Malnutrition can be a complicated case to prove in the court of law.   Many times the malnourishment is accompanied by dehydration and the resulting injuries are not at first easily related to the malnourishment.   You have should have an attorney familiar with the specific obligations present in Minnesota medical malpractice/nursing home malnourishment claims review your case.

Nursing home residents have the right to adequate dietary needs.  If you or someone you love has suffered malnutrition in a nursing home, then contact Kenneth LaBore locally at 612-743-9048 or toll free at 1-888-452-6589 or fill out the form on this page.

Email: KLaBore@MNnursinghomeneglect.com

Disclaimer

Free Consultation on Issues of Elder Abuse and Neglect Serving all of Minnesota Toll Free 1-888-452-6589

Free Consultation on Issues of Elder Abuse and Neglect Serving all of Minnesota Toll Free 1-888-452-6589

 


Kenneth LaBore is a member or supports the following organizations: