Nursing Home Justice Blog

What Can Sudden Weight Loss Tell You About Your Relative in a Nursing Home Facility?

Written By:

Attorney Mac Hester

Date Posted:

March 22, 2023

When you move your relative into a nursing home, you must pay attention to the quality of care they receive to ensure their condition is improving. A study reported that approximately 20% of nursing home residents suffer from malnutrition.

If you notice sudden changes in your relative’s weight, that could be a warning sign of abuse or neglect.

Nursing Home Staff Must Adequately Nourish Residents

Colorado has detailed requirements that explain how staff members should administer food to residents, including how much and how often. According to the Code of Colorado Regulations, staff members must provide residents with at least three meals per day, at regular times or per residents’ needs, preferences, and care plans.

Staff must adequately feed residents, and they have to consider each resident’s individual needs. Some residents might have to eat small meals throughout the day rather than at three designated periods.

Additionally, residents must receive nourishing meal substitutes and between-meal snacks if they wish to eat at non-traditional times. Nursing home staff are also required to monitor each resident’s food intake and report any sudden changes in weight to adjust their care plan.

Common Reasons for Sudden Weight Loss in Nursing Homes

Making sure residents receive enough food in a day may seem like a simple task staff members could perform. However, when nursing homes are poorly managed, residents often pay the price for staff member negligence.

For example, nursing homes are often overcrowded with residents and don’t have the personnel to accommodate their needs. Furthermore, the nurses on staff must be competent and trained to care for the home residents effectively. This is essential when a nursing home contains residents with cognitive disabilities that require assistance with daily activities, such as eating and drinking.

When residents far outnumber the inexperienced nurses caring for them, they experience many signs of neglect, including a sharp decline in weight.

Who’s Most At Risk for Experiencing Sudden Weight Loss?

You should note that if your loved one has a severe condition that includes a functional impairment, such as trouble swallowing, they require even more attention to ensure they’re meeting their daily nutritional requirements. These individuals, and those with other disabilities, are at a higher risk of experiencing sudden weight loss compared to other residents.

Additionally, residents suffering from depression are more likely to experience sudden weight loss. For example, if they live in a toxic nursing home with an abusive caregiver, they might be less inclined to eat, which could be a sign to you that something is wrong.

What Can Sudden Weight Loss Tell You About Your Relative?

Sudden weight loss could be one of many signs indicating a much bigger issue. It could tell you that your loved one is being neglected or intentionally abused.

Your relative might refuse to eat because they are traumatized or depressed due to staff member abuse, whether physical, sexual, or emotional. It could also be a sign that the nursing home is grossly incompetent or significantly understaffed and, therefore, unable to care for your loved one’s needs.

No matter the case, sudden weight loss is almost always a sign of abuse or neglect. You must closely monitor your loved one during their time at the nursing home. Any sudden weight changes should be reported by the staff per the Colorado Code of Regulations. If they are not, and you suspect your relative is experiencing abuse or neglect, you should report it immediately.

Do You Suspect Sudden Weight Loss? Contact a Lawyer Today

A drastic drop in your loved one’s weight could tell you they are depressed, abused, neglected, or otherwise not receiving the quality care they deserve. If you notice sudden weight changes in your relative, you should contact an attorney at Nursing Home Justice today. We’ll listen to your story and get to the root cause of your relative’s weight loss. Call us today at (303) 775-8128.

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