Malnutrition is a serious potential problem in Michigan nursing homes. Elderly people's bodies have weaker immune systems than younger people and must have particular needs met in order to avoid health problems. The elderly need proper vitamins and minerals each day to stay healthy and avoid physical and cognitive difficulties. As a family member of a vulnerable elderly nursing home resident, you should keep an eye out for possible signs of malnutrition. If you or your family member suffers from malnutrition in a nursing home, you may be able to bring a claim for damages. The Detroit, Traverse City, and Grand Rapids nursing home negligence attorneys at Neumann Law Group can provide tenacious, knowledgeable representation for these claims.Holding a Licensed Care Facility Liable for Malnutrition
Nursing home staff turnover and understaffing can have a deleterious effect on nutrition in nursing homes. Turnover is also high among certified nursing assistants, which can result in training issues and practical problems related to residents' meal plans. Family members should look out for canker sores, yeast infections, thrush, weakened muscles, substantial fatigue, and swollen corneas, among other indications.
Malnutrition is a form of neglect, which is prohibited under both federal and Michigan laws. Neglect under state law exists when an elderly person does not receive the appropriate care (such as food). There are numerous entities to which you can report neglect of an elder, including the Attorney General, the Department of Human Services, and the Michigan Protection and Advocacy Services.
Nursing homes owe a duty of care to their residents both by statute and by contract. They are required to hire qualified staff, appropriately discipline staff, and provide necessities like food, adequate security, and adequate medical care. Sometimes malnutrition claims also constitute medical (or nursing) malpractice. A malpractice lawsuit can be brought against individuals and entities that provide health care, and this can include nurses who fail to provide appropriate nutrition.
If the malnutrition is a form of medical malpractice, you would need to prove the accepted standard of care for providing nutrition, the defendant's breach of care, actual and legal cause, and actual damages. A resident's symptoms of malnutrition signal that the defendant failed to provide food of the appropriate nutritional value, but it may be necessary to retain an expert to testify on what the appropriate nutrition should have been. When malpractice is at issue in Michigan, it is also necessary for a plaintiff to provide an affidavit of merit when filing a complaint to establish that the claim is meritorious. The health care provider defendant will need to provide an affidavit countering the plaintiff's affidavit in response.
Malnutrition can result in death. If a nursing home resident dies because a facility negligently failed to provide the appropriate nutrition, the family can sue for wrongful death damages. The damages will be recovered for the benefit of family members who submit claims to the representative. However, if medical malpractice rather than ordinary negligence is the basis of the family's recovery of damages, noneconomic damages (such as pain and suffering) will be limited under MCL 600.1483.Consult an Experienced Nursing Home Negligence Attorney in Traverse City, Grand Rapids, or Detroit
Nursing home negligence is common and too often goes unaddressed. People who suffer from malnutrition have important legal rights to assert. At Neumann Law Group, our Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City nursing home negligence lawyers represent people in Petoskey, Warren, Holland, Midland, Muskegon, Saginaw, Wyoming, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Flint, Ann Arbor, and communities throughout the Upper Peninsula. Each year for the past several years, our principal, the award-winning injury attorney Kelly Neumann, has regularly secured over $3 million for victims and their families. Contact us at 800-525-NEUMANN or via our online form for a free consultation. We also represent residents of Massachusetts and California.