Nursing home abuse is an ugly topic, but one that nonetheless affects plenty of families every year. If you have a family member in a nursing home and a staff member is abusing him or her, the abuse isn't necessarily coming in the form of physically assaulting the patient. One form of abuse that may be present is withholding food from your family member. You may begin to see signs of this abuse when your parent shows a decrease in his or her weight. Weight loss isn't automatically a symptom of abuse, however, so should you decide to hire an attorney who specializes in nursing home abuse, you'll need to prove these things:
That Your Loved One Is Missing Meals
A key element of your case will be to demonstrate that your loved one is missing meals. You likely expect — and it's probably the nursing home's mandate — that your loved one should get three meals per day. Failing to get one of these meals, especially if such a scenario occurs repeatedly, can be a form of abuse. There are many ways that you can prove such a situation, including quietly visiting your family member's room for a few hours around a mealtime and assessing whether a staff member provided food.
That His/Her Dietary Needs Aren't Met
It's possible that your loved one is being served food but not eating it — thus leading to the weight loss — because the nursing home staff members aren't taking care to give your parent food that suits his or her dietary needs. When you move your parent into a nursing home, you'll generally go over his or her dietary situation. For example, some people cannot consume gluten, dairy products, or even meat. If the staff aren't heeding this information and are serving your parent foods that he or she cannot eat, this could be a form of abuse.
That He/She Isn't Getting Enough Time
Senior citizens can often eat slowly, and you want to be sure that your loved one is getting enough time to finish each meal. If he or she is a slow eater, it's possible that the nursing home's staff are taking away your family member's plate before he or she is done eating. While this might not immediately seem abusive, the reality is that this is a form of withholding food and it's having negative effects on your parent's physical health. If you're able to prove one or more of these situations, you can move forward legally.
Contact a firm like Garrison Law Firm for more help.