Nursing Home Lawyer PA

Nursing Home Dehydration

For residents in a nursing home, dehydration is a serious concern. Elderly individuals are less able to recognize the feeling of thirst. Decreases in kidney function, medications, and cognitive impairment can also put older adults at greater risk for dehydration. Nursing home dehydration can be due to neglect. Facilities that understaff and fail to properly monitor residents put them at great risk of nursing home dehydration.

Nursing home residents typically need more help to stay hydrated. They depend on staff members to understand and anticipate their needs. Many nursing home residents have mobility challenges and are unable acquire a beverage for themselves. Others have cognitive impairments that limit their ability to communicate their wants and needs. Cognitively impaired residents may depend on staff to remind them to drink and eat.  Many residents take medications, especially diuretics, that can decrease the amount of fluid in the body.

Signs of Dehydration

Sometimes nursing home staff overlook early signs of dehydration. It’s important to know the signs so that you can advocate for your loved one.  Nursing home residents who are suffering from dehydration may experience dark colored urine, confusion, muscle cramps and low blood pressure. In the early stages of dehydration, the resident might have flushed skin, a dry mouth, constipation, and a headache. In later stages of dehydration, the resident might start hallucinating, having confusion and slurred speech, or become febrile.  If caught early, dehydration can often be corrected by drinking fluids. However, if dehydration progresses to later stages, urgent medical intervention may be needed.

Complications of Nursing Home Dehydration

Dehydration can lead to a number of severe complications including urinary tract infections, seizures, kidney failure, or even a coma. Hypervolemic shock is another severe complication of dehydration. This occurs when the body’s blood pressure and oxygen experience a significant drop. This is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention.

Preventing Nursing Home Dehydration

There are many ways that family members and friends can advocate for loved ones in a nursing home to prevent dehydration. You can:

  • Bring in your loved one’s favorite hydrating beverage
  • Encourage your loved one to drink more water and juice, and less coffee or soda
  • Make sure that staff who serve meals know which beverages they prefer
  • Monitor their room at different times throughout the day to ensure fresh water is available on each nursing shift.
  • Talk with your loved one’s doctor about dehydration prevention
  • Request that staff provide encouragement to drink throughout the day

Nursing Home Dehydration and Neglect

When referring to elder abuse, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines neglect as “a failure to meet basic needs, including water, food, shelter, clothing hygiene, and essential medical care.” Nursing homes who do not properly manage their resident’s medical needs for fluids may be responsible for neglect. If you loved one suffered a serious medical complication due to nursing home dehydration, you can take legal action by filing a lawsuit. A nursing home lawyer from our firm is available to meet with you and discuss your legal options. We believe that nursing home residents should be treated with the utmost respect and care and will advocate tirelessly for your loved one.