Malnutrition is a Leading Cause of Bedsores

By Nursing Home Law Center

Malnutrition Bedsores Cause

The nutritional requirements of individuals suffering from pressure ulcers, decubitus ulcers, pressure sores or bedsores are extremely high. Most elderly individuals require extra protein, vitamins, minerals and calories to assist in the healing of their wounds. As a result, malnutrition, or the deficiency in consuming vital nutrients, often delays the healing of the wound. Malnutrition is also considered a leading cause of the development of a bedsore.

Clinical studies support the belief of the medical community on the importance of protein, iron, zinc and vitamins to heal a pressure ulcer. Chronic bedsore healing necessitates a multidisciplinary approach with early identification of patients most at risk of developing a pressure sore. When the patient is malnourished, prevention of a bedsore or exacerbation of an existing pressure sore becomes challenging.

Approximately one in every five patients bedridden or wheelchair-bound suffer minor to major bedsore development. The healing of a pressure ulcer involves a variety of micro and macro nutrient interactions at every stage.

The relationship between development of a pressure sore and malnutrition has been well documented. In fact, malnutrition leading to significant weight loss typically compromises the patient’s immune function. However, it is important to note, that both obese and underweight individuals can suffer malnourishment.

Because of that, the primary objective of every medical facility, nursing home, hospital, group home or assistant living facility should be recognizing obvious risk factors that lead to under nourishment of their patients. Obvious ways to avoid malnourishment include:

Adequate Amounts of Micro/Macro Nutrients

It is crucial to provide the patient adequate energy to fulfill their daily nutritional requirements of micro and macro nutrients while preventing unutilized or depleted protein and fat stores in the body. This is because hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) has been directly associated with blood infection (sepsis) that often impedes the healing rate of the wound. To ensure adequate nutrition, the medical staff must routinely monitor the patient’s glucose levels and take actions to meet daily dietary requirements when managing pressure ulcers.

Proper Amounts of Protein

The depletion of protein can adversely affect the healing process of decubitus ulcers. Alternately, sufficient amounts of dietary protein can optimize the healing rate of the wound. Hypoalbuminemia, or the deficit of albumin, is a common problem in the elderly, and often an indicator of malnourishment, which can exacerbate and upstage existing bedsores in aging patients. Because of that, it is essential that the medical staff monitor the patient’s nutritional status to ensure adequate protein is provided every day.

Zinc and Iron

Zinc is crucial for protein synthesis, to assist in wound healing by increasing cellular proliferation. Adequate amounts of zinc often require supplementation to help reverse a deficit, especially in patients suffering from poor wound healing. Additionally, low iron levels have been directly linked with the development of pressure ulcers and delayed wound healing caused by restricted oxygen to skin and tissue.

The healing of a bedsore wound can be complex, requiring proven processes including providing adequate nutrients when necessary. Many times, the elderly is undernourished or malnourished, increasing the potential of developing bedsores, or exacerbating existing ones.

The formation of pressure ulcers and malnourishment appear to be interrelated. The high majority of individuals suffering from pressure ulcers are those that are immobile due to age or medical condition. When the health of the elderly individual is not properly monitored and maintained, severe malnutrition can occur, leading to slow wound healing and the development of bedsores.

When Legal Intervention is Necessary

Nursing Home Law Center LLC have a long-standing reputation for integrity, diligence, and strong lawsuit preparation to ensure victims of malnourishment receive fair compensation for their damages and injury. The support staff and nurses, doctors and professional investigators assist the skilled attorneys in protecting the rights of victims of bedsores in medical facilities acquired through malnourishment.

The skilled legal team investigators can pursue negligent cases that involve:

  • A failure of medical staff to properly attend patients using proven guidelines and procedures to minimize the development of bedsores
  • Dehydration and malnutrition
  • General neglect
  • Inadequate supervision of disabled or elderly patients, which led to the development of bedsores and infection

If the medical staff in a nursing home, group home, assistant living facility, hospital or other medical setting have violated the trust of a loved one, it is essential to have your case evaluated in a free initial consultation. Call the network of attorneys at (800) 926-7565 to schedule an appointment with a skilled attorney who can discuss the likelihood of a successful outcome when taking legal action against the responsible parties causing insufficient nourishment of your loved one.

Related Information

Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Resources

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