Malnutrition in Nursing Homes – How to Spot Signs of Neglect and Abuse
Malnutrition in elderly people happens with decreased appetite or trouble with swallowing. But look for signs of elder neglect as well – are all of these issues being addressed, care plans created, monitoring initiated? Elderly nutrition problems become common when nursing home staff members are too busy to help feed residents, make a plan, monitor their response.
Malnutrition in Elderly People: A Sign of Neglect?
Symptoms of malnutrition in elderly people include weight loss, as well as a lack of energy and slow wound healing. Malnutrition may be a sign of elder neglect, but it can also result from poor health, dementia, depression or anxiety. To detect elderly nutrition problems – and determine whether they’re caused by neglect – investigate what is being done to address the weight loss and mealtime procedures in elder care facilities. Causes of weight loss may range from lack of assistance in eating to a failure to care plan, monitor and address underlying health conditions. .
Malnutrition in elderly people often has physical causes such as trouble with chewing due to poor dental health. This itself can be a sign of elder neglect, because nursing home caregivers may not provide residents adequate dental hygiene. Elderly nutrition problems may also stem from overmedicating elders to the point where they do not want to eat or simply cannot eat.. Other causes of weight loss include diseases including cancer.
Dementia can cause malnutrition in elderly people, because they lose the ability to feed themselves. This becomes a sign of elder neglect, if caretakers don’t provide help at meals. Elderly nutrition problems increase as the dementia progresses. Part of senior facilities neglect involves the failure to recognize changing needs and step up the level of assistance.
Malnutrition in elderly people often grows from psychological factors. Depression can cause elderly nutrition problems, whether that depression is due to poor mobility, health problems or other factors. Anxiety and weight loss may be linked as well, according to the National Institutes of Health. If you detect these common causes of weight loss in your loved one, medical or psychological care may be necessary.
How to Detect Malnutrition in Elderly People
When it comes to malnutrition in elderly people, nursing homes have the responsibility address the problem, according to State and Federal Law the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform summary is excellent. It’s a sign of elder neglect if nursing home staff members are too busy to monitor residents at mealtime. Elderly nutrition problems may also occur if staff members help with eating but the assistance is too forceful. This causes weight loss because seniors often won’t eat under pressure.
You may find malnutrition in elderly people if senior facilities don’t provide tasty, attractive food. This is a sign of elder neglect, especially if the food isn’t prepared and served at the right temperature. Elderly nutrition problems also result when nursing home residents refuse food for cultural or religious reasons. To detect nursing home neglect of this type, find out what foods are served and what alternatives are available.
Social factors contribute to malnutrition in elderly people. You’ll recognize signs of elder neglect if a senior isn’t served when other people at the table are eating. Anxiety, depression and weight loss are typical consequences of eating alone. To prevent this type of elder neglect, the dining room in a senior care facility should be comfortable and conducive to social interactions.
Malnutrition in elderly people can occur if they’re served food they don’t like – for instance, food that’s too bland for a diminished sense of taste. Nursing homes must address these elderly nutrition problems by offering other foods. If you detect nursing home neglect in the area of nutrition, report it to your local long term care ombudsman. Ombudsmen understand all types of elder neglect and abuse and help find solutions to elderly abuse and neglect problems.