Today my office was contacted a Chicago-area woman whose mother lost 30 pounds within three months of her admission to a nursing home.
She explained how her 87 year old mother suffered from dementia and needed assistance with most daily living activities including help with meals.
The woman went on to explain that the entire reason she brought her mother to the facility was because she was assured that the facility was capable of meeting her daily nutritional needs.
The case above illustrates a common problem at many nursing homes and long-term care facilities–the neglect of residents. Neglect related to the nutritional needs of nursing home residents is perhaps one of the more dramatic areas of neglect.
A drastic weight loss or gain can be indicative of poor care.
An article from the FDA discuses the nutritional problems encountered by many elderly. Paul Kerschner, vice president of the National Council on Aging discusses how “seniors tend to be at a disproportionate risk of poor nutrition that can adversely affect their health.” Kerschner estimates that 15 to 50% of the elderly population are affected by poor nutrition. Poor nutrition typically plays a role in most injury related nursing home maladies such as: bedsores, falls, decline in cognitive function, and an overall decline in quality of life.