Malnutrition and Dehydration

Leaving the Elderly Without Sufficient Food or Water
Unfortunately, it is fairly common to find elderly nursing home residents malnourished and dehydrated. The two conditions are often interrelated. Where you find one, you are often likely to find the other. The development of malnutrition and dehydration is a significant threat to a nursing home resident’s health and well being. If ignored or not properly attended to, it can lead to direct health complications such as a dramatic weakening of a person’s physical state, significant weight loss and, in severe cases, death. Malnutrition and dehydration can also have an indirect impact on an elderly nursing home resident’s health as it is a contributing factor to the development of other serious conditions such as bedsores and renal failure.


Malnutrition occurs when and individual’s proper nutritional levels are not adequately maintained. Although there are a number of possible contributing factors to malnutrition, often a nursing home attorney will find that it has occurred simply because the staff did not feed a resident. This failure to feed the resident is not typically the result of an intentional, malicious act to deprive an elderly person of food. Rather, it is usually the result of inadequate staffing at a nursing home.

Nursing home attorneys regularly find that many nursing homes have too few care providers for the number of their elderly residents the home agrees to take in. This often leaves the care providers with not enough time during their shift to complete their tasks. As a consequence, basic needs, such as proper feeding of elderly nursing home residents will often go unmet.

Nursing home attorneys find this particularly true with residents who are unable to feed themselves. Such residents are at a higher risk of malnutrition because it takes time to feed them. Time the care providers cannot always afford. Nursing home attorneys commonly hear stories of food trays just being left at the bedside of such residents and food going untouched for hours at a time.


It is important, especially with elderly, to maintain proper levels of fluid in the body. A ten percent reduction of fluids in an elderly person can pose a serious risk of harm. A twenty percent reduction of fluids may lead to death.

It does not take much for an elderly nursing home resident to become dehydrated. Relatively short periods of time without water, warm environments, or increases in body temperature can all lead to dehydration. Accordingly, nursing home care providers are responsible for monitoring hydration levels closely. They are charged with the duty of making certain that all nursing home residents are receiving proper fluid intake.

Unfortunately, dehydration is a common problem at nursing homes. Nursing home attorneys often hear family members of nursing home residents tell stories of visiting their loved one and routinely finding pitchers of water sitting empty or untouched and out of reach. Nursing home attorneys also hear of loved ones being left for prolonged periods of time in excessively warm rooms. These are all tell tale signs that your elderly loved one may be at risk of dehydration. An experienced nursing home attorney will immediately appreciate this and know where to look and with whom to speak in order to determine if dehydration has occurred.

Contact our nursing home lawyers today.
Our experienced Tennessee and Virginia nursing home attorneys will conduct a detailed investigation into any such allegations of malnutrition or dehydration. In the process, our nursing home attorneys will often hear care providers admit and complain that there are simply too many tasks and that they do not have enough time to sit and feed residents. When malnutrition or dehydration occurs under circumstances it is clear that nursing home neglect has occurred.

If you have reason to believe your loved one is suffering from malnutrition or dehydration, you will want an experienced nursing home attorney to evaluate your case , then contact us for a free consultation.

Call 423-968-4969 (TN/VA) or 828-214-3756 (NC) today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights.