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Realizing that an elderly loved one requires care at a nursing home or skilled nursing facility can be difficult. We often hear about cases of nursing home abuse and neglect throughout the Twin Cities and in Minnesota more generally. For many of us, nursing home negligence produces concerns about intentional acts of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse in the nursing home setting. Yet nursing home negligence does not have to be intentional. To be sure, nursing home neglect results in serious injuries to Minnesota nursing home residents much too often, frequently because a facility is understaffed or does not have the resources to provide proper care to residents.

One of the ways in which nursing home neglect often manifests itself is through malnutrition and dehydration, both of which can lead to the significant weight loss of nursing home residents. If you have concerns about an elderly loved one’s quality of care in a Minneapolis or St. Paul nursing home, you should speak with a dedicated nursing home abuse attorney in MN as soon as possible. When signs and symptoms of nursing home neglect are left untreated, residents can suffer debilitating and sometimes fatal injuries. An advocate at Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm LLC can answer your questions today.


Did you know that malnutrition and dehydration in nursing homes can be an obvious sign of nursing home neglect? And did you know that malnutrition and dehydration can lead to significant weight loss, which can have other serious health consequences for residents of Minnesota nursing homes? According to an article in the journal Current Opinions in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, approximately 20 percent of all nursing home residents have “some form of malnutrition.” In other words, one out of every five nursing home residents experiences malnutrition in some capacity, and may experience significant weight loss as a result. In some nursing homes, the prevalence of malnutrition among patients is as high as almost 67 percent of the resident population.

What happens when a patient experiences significant weight loss as a result of malnutrition? The article cites some of the following as connected to malnutrition and nursing home weight loss:

  • Depression and other emotional or psychological injuries;
  • Cognitive impairment;
  • Functional impairment; and
  • Difficulty swallowing.

As you might expect, experiencing significant weight loss as a result of malnutrition or dehydration can produce other symptoms that ultimately can result in the death of a nursing home resident. It is important to learn more about spotting the signs and symptoms of nursing home neglect in Minnesota, and understanding more about how weight loss can be a symptom of illegal nursing home negligence.


Significant weight loss often is a sign or symptom of nursing home neglect, which is a form of elder abuse, according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA). Significant weight loss can stem from two different types of abuse:

  • Passive neglect, which typically refers to a situation in which a caregiver fails to provide proper care (including food, water, and medical care) to a nursing home resident without necessarily having an intent to harm the patient; and/or
  • Willful deprivation, which refers to a situation in which a caregiver intentionally withholds food, water, medical care, and other forms of assistance that can result in serious injury to a nursing home residents.

Generally speaking, if you are concerned about an elderly loved one’s serious weight loss in a Minnesota nursing home, you should be aware of the other signs and symptoms of neglect. Significant weight loss on its own can be an important sign of neglect, and you should always speak with a Minnesota nursing home neglect lawyer if you have concerns. If your elderly parent or another relative is a patient at a skilled nursing facility where she or he has experienced significant weight loss, you should know that the presence of additional symptoms of neglect can be clear warning signs that you should heed. The NCOA cites the following as common signs and symptoms of elder neglect:

  • Bedsores;
  • Unattended medical needs;
  • Poor hygiene; and
  • Unusual weight loss.

As we mentioned, significant weight loss often stems from malnutrition and dehydration, and any unusual weight loss should be taken extremely seriously. Weight loss can also happen when a resident has experienced other forms of abuse that affect the resident’s emotional or psychological well-being (and desire to eat), including physical abuse, sexual abuse, and psychological abuse.

The NCOA emphasizes that seniors who have been mistreated and have been victims of nursing home abuse or neglect “have a 300 percent higher risk of death when compared to those who have not been mistreated.”


Federal and Minnesota state laws protect patients from nursing home neglect, which can result in significant weight loss and ultimately other serious harms. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) makes clear that nursing home residents have “the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse, involuntary seclusion, and misappropriation of your property by anyone.” In addition, every nursing home is required, under federal law, to have 24-hour licensed nurses on staff, and must have a registered professional nurse at the facility for at least eight consecutive hours each day, every single day of the week. Given that significant weight loss in nursing homes often occurs as a result of understaffing, it is important for patients and their families to know that any skilled nursing facility that fails to meet minimum staffing requirements can open themselves up to liability.

The Minnesota Health Care Bill of Rights emphasizes that nursing home residents have a right to “continuity of care.” This means that “patients and residents shall have the right to be cared for with reasonable regularity and continuity of staff assignment as far as facility policy allows.”


If your elderly loved one has lost a significant amount of weight in a nursing home, you should speak with a Minnesota nursing home neglect lawyer about handling an elder abuse case. Contact Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm LLC for more information about how we can assist with your case.


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