Federal and state laws require that nursing homes maintain or attain the highest practicable mental, physical, and psychosocial well-being for their patients. These laws provide that nursing homes must ensure that their patients’ nutrition and hydration needs are met, as proper nutrition and hydration are two critical components for nursing home residents to maintain their overall health and well-being inside the facility.
The elderly are particularly at risk for both malnutrition and dehydration. Due to decreased body reserves and other diminished capacities, the elderly are much more susceptible to malnourishment than younger adults. Moreover, many aging patients have dental problems or experience loss of appetite caused by health problems or medications. Thus, they need to be monitored by nursing home staff carefully for any signs of malnutrition. Often times this is not done.
Another reason patients become malnourished while residing in nursing homes is that many cannot feed themselves without assistance, and are not properly fed by nursing home staff. Each year thousands of nursing homes across the country receive citations for inappropriate feeding tube insertions or improper feeding methods.