Malnutrition & Dehydration


Nursing homes, elder facilities and other types of resident and skilled care facilities must provide each resident with a nourishing, palatable and well-balanced diet that meets daily nutritional and special dietary needs.  Additionally, care facilities must:

  • Serve at least three meals daily, at regular times, within not more than a 14-hour span between the evening meal and breakfast
  • Offer snacks at bedtime
  • Reasonably accommodate resident food and mealtime preferences
  • Offer a food substitute of similar nutritional value if a resident refuses food
  • Serve food attractively, at the proper temperature, and in a form to meet individual needs
  • Prepare and follow menus that meet national dietary standards
  • Plan menus with consideration of the residents’ cultural backgrounds and food habits
  • Post the current and following week’s menus for regular and special diets
  • Prepare food using methods that conserve nutritive value, flavor, and appearance
  • Provide therapeutic diets to residents with nutritional problems, subject to physician orders
  • Ensure that a resident’s ability to eat does not diminish unless it is medically unavoidable
  • Provide individualized help to residents who need assistance with meals, offering enough assistance so that residents can finish meals
  • Provide special eating utensils to residents who need them
  • Provide table service to all residents who desire it, served at tables of appropriate height
  • Store, prepare, distribute, and serve food under sanitary conditions

If a resident’s ability to eat is compromised, the facility should establish an individualized care plan to maintain the resident’s ability to eat food orally.  For example, therapeutic programs can be used to help improve a resident’s ability to swallow or to help a confused resident maintain a fixed eating routine.

Nursing homes must notify a resident’s physician immediately if there are signs of malnutrition, such as a weight loss of 5 pounds or more within a 30 day period.  Federal guidelines urge care facilities to reassess nutritional status whenever a resident experiences unplanned or undesired weight loss of 5 percent or more in one month, 7.5 percent or more in three months, or 10 percent or more in 6 months.

At Berman & Riedel, LLP, our attorneys have a complete understanding of the duty of care that facilities have to you or a loved one in preventing and treating malnutrition. Or legal team has aggressively litigated many cases against nursing homes and other types of care facilities throughout California who have failed to prevent and treat malnutrition in its residents.


Care facility residents can become dehydrated when they are not given sufficient fluids.  Symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, confusion, constipation, fever, decreased urine output, and skin problems.  Severe dehydration can lead to serious illness or even death.

It is the responsibility of care facilities to provide each resident with sufficient fluids to maintain proper hydration and health.  Each resident should be provided a plentiful supply of fresh water or other beverages and be given any help or encouragement needed to drink.

Berman & Riedel, LLP has represented many nursing home and care facility residents throughout the State of California that suffered either malnutrition or dehydration as a result of a care facility’s misconduct. Berman & Riedel, LLP aggressively advocates for each and every client, successfully obtaining the best possible results where a facility has failed to prevent the malnutrition and/or dehydration of your loved one.

If you or a loved one has suffered or suffers from Malnutrition or dehydration, Berman & Riedel, LLP can offer the experience and skill necessary to provide you with sound advice on what your rights may be under the law.  Contact an attorney at Berman & Riedel, LLP to discuss your legal options.