An Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) investigation indicates that a resident at the Batavia Rehab and Health Care Center in Batavia, Illinois was slowly starving to death. The resident lost 10% of his body weight in a little over a month while a resident at the facility.
The resident is an 82-year-old man with a history of pneumonia, vitamin deficiencies and stomach problems. At the time he was admitted he had no diagnosis of swallowing difficulty. His physician placed him on a mechanical soft diet.
During the investigation, IDPH inspectors observed the man being served a lunch tray that consisted of a sandwich and whole potato chips. The man to put the sandwich in his mouth, but was unable to swallow, and the food fell from his mouth. Clear drainage streamed from the resident’s nose. Instead of trying another strategy, the certified nurses aide (CNA) told him to stop eating since he was coughing.
Under questioning, a registered dietician at Batavia Rehab admitted that a sandwich and whole potato chips did not constitute a mechanical soft diet. The question remains, if the inspector had not chosen to confront the situation, would anyone have noticed?
The day after the failed lunchtime meal, the resident was able to swallow two bites of tuna and a sip of thickened milk. The CNA claimed that he usually ate better than that. The following day, the resident was able to eat two bites of mashed potatoes before a coughing fit prevented him from eating any more.
According to the report, the only interventions in the Batava Rehab and Health Care Center plan of care was to provide diet as ordered, encourage feeding, and honor food preferences. Clearly, this was inadequate.
Nursing home neglect can take many forms including malnutrition and dehydration.
In this case, a 10% loss of body weight in just a little over a month indicates the resident was, literally, starving to death in his own nursing home room.
Malnutrition is not only a danger because of the obvious risks presented here. It can also lead to a general weakness that turns a mild illness into a life threatening condition and contributes to the likelihood of a devastating nursing home fall.
If you have a loved one who has become ill or injured after losing significant weight in an Illinois nursing home, they may be the victims of nursing home neglect. At my law offices, our Chicago nursing home lawyers offer a free and confidential consultation to anyone with concerns over nursing home malnutrition and other forms of nursing home neglect. Please contact us to schedule an appointment.