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Did neglect or abuse cause your parent's health problems?

Do you sometimes feel bad that you can't visit your parent in the nursing home where he or she resides as often as you'd like? If so, you're definitely not alone in your struggle, as many adult children in Pennsylvania can relate to your circumstances. It can be challenging to make sure the nursing home is meeting your loved one's needs while balancing many other duties and obligations in your life as well.

You and your parent have a right to expect nursing home staff members to provide high quality service on a daily basis according to state laws and accepted standards of care and safety. It's understandable that you might feel distressed if you notice signs of neglect when you visit or speak to your parent by phone. Sadly, malnutrition is a problem in many nursing homes throughout the United States.

Typical aging versus negligence

It's not uncommon for elderly people to complain about the food they eat. You might say that their "taste buds change" as they get older, and they no longer like foods they once enjoyed. Adapting to life in a nursing home where someone else is cooking all of your parent's food can be difficult as well. How can you tell if your parent's complaints about food are "normal" or if there is a more serious problem at hand?

Signs that should cause concern

If your loved one has lost all interest in food or drink, it can be a symptom of an underlying health problem, such as malnutrition. Irritability, depression or cognitive impairment may also alert you to a nutrition-related problem.

Malnutrition can make your loved one prone to infection or make it difficult to heal from a wound. Lack of vitamin C can even result in a rare condition known as scurvy. If your mother or father appears to have lost muscle mass or fat, it may be a sign of poor nourishment.

If your parent suffers injuries

Nursing home administrators and workers are legally obligated to make sure your parent is receiving proper care and dietary nourishment. It's always a good idea to closely observe your loved one, as well as his or her surroundings and the care providers on duty when you visit a Pennsylvania nursing home. 

If you notice any incident or issue that causes you concern, especially regarding proper nutrition, you can immediately investigate the matter by questioning care providers or requesting a meeting with nursing home officials. It's always best to rule out other causes if you suspect someone has been negligent in your loved one's care.

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