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Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse—Dehydration and Malnutrition

Dehydration and Malnutrition in Nursing Homes

According to a published report, a vast number of nursing home residents—up to one-third—don’t get enough to eat or drink on a daily basis. The report, released by the National Citizen’s Coalition for Nursing Home Reform, found the situation to be critical in some facilities, with up to 85% of residents at some homes experiencing malnutrition or dehydration.

Experts express serious concerns in the light of the report, citing the relationship between diet, hydration and other conditions, such as bedsores, depression and cognitive impairment.

The study identified a number of factors contributing to the problem:

  • Nursing homes are chronically understaffed—Nursing homes are for-profit businesses, pure and simple. For most, the bottom line is far more important than resident care. As a result, nursing homes tend to cut costs on personnel expenses. The study cited a 93% annual turnover in nursing home employees, and expressed alarm that the average caregiver had responsibility for 12 to 15 people during a meal, as opposed to the recommended two to three residents.
  • Most nursing homes do not provide a high level of individualized care—Patients are rarely monitored to ensure that they are taking in adequate nutrition and liquids. Often, nursing home residents experience depression, which can suppress appetite. Without individual care, many residents can go long periods of time with little food.
  • Most nursing home residents have extremely limited choices for food
  • Many residents have poor dental health, which makes it painful or difficult for them to chew or digest food.

Contact Attorney Michael J. Hood

For a private meeting, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request. We will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary. There is no cost for your first consultation.