Even the healthiest people need food and water to keep living. The longest a person can go without water is only 10 days. The longest period a person can go without food is four to six weeks. For people who cannot care for themselves, they must depend on others to make sure they are drinking and eating regularly and getting the proper nutrition.
Nursing home residents in particular need the staff of the facility to care for their basic needs. One of their duties is to make sure the patients are fed and hydrated on a regular basis. Yet there have been cases where nursing homes have been cited and some cases shut down for failing to perform one of their basic duties.
One of the reasons abuses like this happen is because of the facilities’ lack of income and greedy owners. They are always looking for ways to cut corners and expenses and skirt state regulations. Each nursing home is required to have a food service operation, much like that of a hospital. They need to pass the minimum health inspection requirements of the state. Each patient should received three meals a day plus drinks and be allowed snacks if their diet allows it.
Doctors and nurses should be monitoring each person’s food intake to make sure they are eating and drinking properly. In an abusive nursing home situation, meals can be skipped to maybe twice or only once per day. They sometimes can do days without a meal. If patients complain that the food they are eating is not cooked right, or is cold or raw, they can face retaliation from the staff. Nursing home aides have been known to throw a resident’s food on the floor and stomp on it, if they complain too much about the service.
A situation like this can go unnoticed because patients can be intimidated by staff and are afraid to speak out. Many nursing home are long-term facilities where the residents will never recover to where they can take care of themselves. They will either die in the home, or be discharged to a hospital or hospice in their final days. They have no control of their situation.
If you notice your loved one appears to be underfed, look malnourished and not being given daily rations of food or water, you should contact the local authorities immediately. Each county in Pennsylvania has an Area Agency on Aging that employs Case Workers and Ombudsman who investigate abuse in nursing homes.
If you suspect an abuse is happening, first contact your local aging office. Then contact the attorneys of Michael J. O’Connor & Associates. Nursing home negligence is just one of the many areas of law we specialize.
Our firm has over 25 years of experience serving the residents of Pennsylvania in 15 offices. Other services provided by our firm include workers' compensation, social security disability, and personal injury. We can assist in wills, estate planning and power of attorney situations. Call us toll free at 1-800-518-4LAW for a free consultation, or fill out our contact form to the left and we will contact you as soon as possible. Let us fight for your rights.