The general obligations of a nursing home to provide dietary services are set forth in the regulations: “The facility must provide each resident with a nourishing, palatable, well-balanced diet that meets the daily nutritional and special dietary needs of each resident.” Dehydration and malnutrition often accompany each other.
The nursing home must employ a qualified dietitian. If the qualified dietitian is not a full-time employee, the facility must “designate a person to serve as the director of food services who receives frequently scheduled consultation from a qualified dietitian.” The dietitian’s recommended nutritional intake quotas should be in the resident’s records. The dietary records should document when and what the resident was fed and how much was consumed. The records, however, often show that a resident was repeatedly provided a small fraction of the recommended daily amount of fluid, often revealing ongoing neglect and undernourishment.
Although the nursing home must “employ sufficient support personnel competent to carry out the functions of dietary service,” there is often a direct link between improper staffing and malnutrition / dehydration of residents. A resident who has suffered dehydration and malnutrition is most likely not receiving the dietary recommendations. When the nursing home’s neglect results in hospitalization, the hospital records frequently include two pieces of strong evidence of malnutrition and dehydration – high levels of sodium and low serum albumin in the blood.
If you believe a loved one has suffered malnutrition or dehydration because the nursing home failed to do its job, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a FREE CONSULTATION.