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What do you do if your family member or parent becomes malnourished in a nursing home, long-term care facility or a hospital? Well, you need to take action about it, and there’s a lot of things you can do. Visit and communicate with the providers to make sure that they know that you’re a partner in the care. Talk to them about the challenges that they’re having in feeding your dad or getting your mom to drink if she becomes dehydrated. Get some tools. Get a plan to how to prevent that. Look at the types of food they’re giving, and then make sure it’s good calories, protein and vitamins, not empty calories.

You want to make sure that if you’ll have a caregiver throughout they’re saying all day long, “Eat,” but you go there and they’re eating and drinking fine, so then the caregiver needs to be changed. Something needs to change so that your mom or dad doesn’t starve or go thirsty. If the caregivers aren’t working, you got to go above them to their supervisor. If that communication isn’t working, you need to go to the director of the nursing home. You need to document it if it’s not working, if you’re really having challenges in communication. Emails, letters, keep copy of them, make a copy of those letters.

There are some places that have nutritionists. You need to talk to them. You need to talk to the hospital, or the internist, or the doctor at the nursing home, or the primary care doctor outside of your mom or dad. Take them out of the place, bring them to the hospital, bring them to the ER, bring them to an emergent care, bring them to their primary care doctor to make sure that that is assessed and those changes can be made. A lot of times this happens with dementia, and you need to think of other ways, and bring in the team. Be a partner in the team that you need to make sure to prevent this.

If you’re not getting anywhere with these solutions and nothing’s happening, you can also avail yourself of the Illinois or Missouri Division of Aging. So, in Illinois, you can call the Adult Protective Services Hotline at 866-800-1409, you can go to www.illinois.gov\aging, and there’s a Protection & Advocacy Section in that website. In Missouri, you can go to www.health.mo.gov\safety or you can call 1-800-392-0210 which is Missouri’s Adult Abuse and Neglect Hotline. These are state-governed issues, not federally-governed issues, so I would go to your state agencies. Google them, you’ll find this information if you forget this video later on and you need that information.

If none of that is working and you can’t do anything about it, switch the nursing home, go to a different nursing home. You don’t want to beat your head against the wall, and you don’t want your loved one to suffer. And, if you have any more questions about this, call me. My name’s Gary Burger. I’m at Burger Law, 314-542-2222, 618-272-2222 or our toll-free number at 866-599-2222. Thank you.

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