A Louisville Nursing Home Neglect Attorney Discusses Dehydration
Dehydration is a serious medical condition in which the body’s organs do not have enough water to carry out vital functions. While the young and able-bodied only usually suffer serious dehydration due to extremely hot weather, over-exercising, or illness, seniors and the elderly can become dangerously dehydrated simply because they do not consume enough fluids.
Dehydration is an extremely serious problem in United States nursing homes. In fact, one in three nursing home residents likely suffers from malnutrition and dehydration, an issue that can have extremely serious repercussions, including permanent disability and death.
According to the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, it is against federal law to fail to meet the nutritional needs of individual residents, including their basic need for fluids. If you believe that your elder loved one has suffered from dehydration due to nursing home neglect, you should speak to a Kentucky nursing home attorney immediately. To schedule a free, confidential meeting with personal injury attorney Seth Gladstein, please contact us today.
Health Problems that May Develop from Dehydration
After a certain point, dehydration cannot be cured simply with a few sips of water. Additionally, chronic dehydration can be deadly, especially for the ill and elderly. Dehydrated seniors may suffer the following complications:
- Urinary tract infections
- Disorientation or confusion
- Low blood volume shock
- Kidney failure and organ failure
- Unnecessary use of psychoactive medications
- Coma and death
Some seniors are at a higher risk of dehydration than others. In addition, people with certain medical conditions may suffer more serious consequences if they become dehydrated. For example, seniors who suffer from cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia are more likely to become dehydrated, while residents who suffer from diabetes are more likely to face serious consequences if they become dehydrated.
How Nursing Home Residents Become Dehydrated
It is the responsibility of long-term care facilities to see that residents are immediately treated for dehydration and malnutrition. Some people are more at-risk to develop dehydration, due to their particular medical conditions, while other residents need to maintain adequate hydration through the use of IVs. Still other residents may have difficulty swallowing, so it’s the job of the nursing home staff to make sure that these people have enough fluids throughout the day and night. Fluid intake and output should always be measured to ensure that residents are adequately hydrated. At the same time, staff members should be on the lookout for the red flags of dehydration.
How do nursing home residents become dehydrated?
- Staff members are not adequately trained in feeding and monitoring residents. Untrained staff members may not know how to properly feed and hydrate residents. They may also not know the common signs of dehydration or what to do when a patient is dehydrated.
- Staff members are not properly supervised or supported. Far too many nursing homes are understaffed. This means that staff members are often overstressed and unsupervised. It is no surprise that many residents do not have their basic needs met on a day-to-day basis.
- The nursing home lacks adequate monitoring rules. Every nursing home should have strategies for preventing dehydration, such as monitoring fluid intake and having specific fluid plans for residents with certain health issues and medical histories. Every nursing home should also have a system in place for instances where a resident shows the signs of dehydration.
- Residents are neglected or abused. In some cases, residents may simply not be given enough food or water on a regular basis, either out of incompetence or due to abuse.
Signs of Dehydration
If you have a senior living in a nursing home, rehabilitation center, or assisted care facility, it is important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of dehydration in the elderly:
- Excessively dry skin
- Increasing confusion
- Weight loss
- Pale or discolored lips and skin
- Cracks around the mouth
- Decreased elasticity of skin
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
- Excessive desire for food and water when family members are present
If you believe that your loved one may be suffering from dehydration, seek medical assistance immediately.
Gladstein Law Firm Helps Kentucky Nursing Home Neglect Victims
No resident should become dehydrated while residing in a Kentucky nursing home. It is simply against the law. If you or a loved has suffered from dehydration while in assisted living, call personal injury attorney Seth Gladstein to set up a free and private consultation. Seth will not only listen to you, he will help you determine if you are eligible for compensation for your injuries. His experience and self-assurance will give the guidance and peace of mind that you need. Call today at 502-855-4177 or 800-991-0474 to set up your free consultation at Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC.
*Each case is different and the past record is no assurance that we will be successful in reaching a favorable result in any future case. Client pays costs only upon recovery.