Nursing home abuse is typically visualized as physical abuse resulting in broken bones, abrasions or bruising on patient. News headlines rarely discuss the dehydration that nursing home patients suffer as a result of poor care within a skilled nursing facility. Unfortunately, dehydration of nursing home patients is a common form of abuse that occurs in long-term care facilities. As care providers, nursing home staff have a duty to ensure the well-being of patients, which amongst other things means ensuring that patients receive sufficient fluid intake so they can achieve their optimum level of functioning.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is committed to protecting the legal rights of Illinois nursing home patients who have injuries related to dehydration. Our Chicago nursing home attorneys are committed to holding facilities fully accountable when a resident suffers injuries or complications associated with dehydration. Contact our office for a complimentary and confidential review of your nursing home dehydration case today.
The Importance of Properly Hydration for Nursing Home Patients
It is vital that all human beings have proper hydration for the functioning of body organs. Water is an essential element, and the body depends on consumption of water for survival. Cells, tissue and organs all need water to work together in the body. Without water, one’s body would be unable to maintain a proper body temperature or remove waste from the body. Proper nutrition also enables a person to have energy to be mobile in his or her daily life.
Nursing home patients have a particular need for proper hydration. They may have serious medical conditions that cause the body to use up energy faster. Elderly people also need proper hydration so that they can maintain a strong immune system. Without proper hydration, the body is unable to fight off infections from the body. One can suffer from bedsores or pressure ulcers when he or she lacks proper hydration. Muscle weakness is another effect of inadequate hydration.
Statistics of Nursing Home Patients Suffering from Dehydration
Statistics indicate that over 10,000 nursing home residents died between 1999 and 2002 as a result of dehydration and malnutrition. Out of any given 40 residents surveyed at a particular time, statistics further reveal that only one resident likely has proper hydration within a nursing home.
It is clear that nursing homes must take a more active approach to ensuring that nursing home residents are hydrated at all times. This may entail hiring additional staff workers to supervise and check up on nursing home residents throughout the day. Many nursing homes have inadequate staffing levels, and this contributes to high neglect rates within nursing homes.
Neglect as the Main Cause of Dehydration Rates in Chicago Nursing Homes
Nursing home workers may feel overwhelmed or too busy to check up on patients throughout the day. Nursing homes will commonly overload workers with too many patients for them to handle. A worker may also be in charge of handling social activities or other aspects of running the nursing home. These activities can impede on the actual care that is provided to nursing home residents.
In addition, nursing home administrators may fail to create specialized care plans for residents. They may fail to take the special diet needs of a patient into consideration. A patient may require more liquids than the typical patient, but a nursing home may not discover this need if no special care plan is created.
Signs of Dehydration in Nursing Home Patients
There are certain signs that can show a nursing home patient is suffering from dehydration. Nursing home workers must be trained so that they can notice when a patient may be suffering from dehydration. Some of the signs of dehydration are the following:
- Dry mouth
- Dizziness or fatigue
- Dry skin
- Cracked skin
- Flushed skin
- Requests for more liquids
- Loss of appetite
- Dark urine
If nursing home workers notice any of these signs, then they have a duty to provide treatment to patients in a nursing home. It is important for nursing home workers to provide liquids to residents as soon as they suspect that a resident may be dehydrated. Family members should also pay attention to any signs of whether a loved one may be dehydrated. If they do notice these signs, then they should report their concerns to a nursing home administrator and obtain liquid for the patient.
Nursing Home Awards for Dehydration Incidents
$950,000 Settlement; Dehydration Death; Chicago, Illinois
The victim in this dispute was a 79-year-old woman. She entered a nursing because she suffered from mental and physical disabilities. Doctors deemed her a risk for falls, bedsore, and dehydration among other things. Eventually, a bedsore did arise along her spine, on the coccyx region. This got all the way to Stage Four. Also, she began to suffer from malnutrition and dehydration. Then, sepsis set in the bedsore and her condition started to generally deteriorate. She died about five months after the bedsore was spotted. Her death was contributed to the bedsore, dehydration, and other health conditions. She had three children at the time of her passing. They each survived her. Together, they brought an Illinois lawsuit against the facility. They alleged its negligence and neglect caused her bedsores, dehydration and other health problems which caused or at least partially played a factor in her death. They sought compensation for her pain, passing as well as the costs and suffering it caused. They received $950,000 in settlement compensation.
$625,000 Settlement; Dehydration Death; Chicago, Illinois
This case involved an elderly woman (80) who lived in an Illinois nursing home. Due to her age and health, she was at risk for developing serious health conditions including malnutrition and dehydration. However, these issues can normally be avoided with proper care. It turns out that she did not get that. Nursing staff at the facility did not supervise her eating and drinking properly or help her during meals. It developed so badly for her that she experienced dehydration, malnutrition, and hypernatremia. Staff transferred her to the hospital when it unraveled so much that they could no longer take care of her. While at the hospital, she felt the effects of other issues including sepsis. She died not long after this course of events. Her children and grandchildren survived her. They brought a lawsuit against the facilities and professionals who cared for her. They sought compensation for the damages that the defendants' conduct caused. This included the pain that she suffered prior to passing, the fact that she died, the costs this all incurred, and the pain it caused the family. They obtained $625,000 in compensation from a private settlement.
$861,725 Settlement; Dehydration Death; Chicago, Illinois
Here, the resident was relatively young compared to other nursing home dehydration cases. She was in her early to middle thirties. She was admitted because she had several mental health issues including depression and schizophrenia. These conditions also affected her ability to swallow and eat properly. While she lived at the Illinois nursing home, the staff neglected her for long stretches of time. They also abused her emotionally, physically, and sexually. The effects of this treatment were evidenced by bedsores, dehydration, and weight loss among other things. Then, some of her sores became infected and progressed into osteomyelitis. She died not long after these complications arose-just a few years after she entered the nursing home and at a very young age (thirty-four). Her parents and siblings survived her. She had three sisters. They sued on her behalf for the terrible treatment and abuse she was forced to endure, the neglect that she suffered, and the untimely death which resulted from all of it. The defendant nursing home filed a reply but did not push the matter at trial. The family received a private settlement a little under $1 million ($861,725).
$500,000 Settlement; Dehydration Death; Chicago, Illinois
This Illinois nursing home case kicked off after a resident passed away in untimely manner. The facts became apparent quickly that she was neglected early and often during her stay at the facility. This had a number of profound and negative effects including bedsores, dehydration, and osteomyelitis. When she died at the age of seventy-four, her representatives began to ask why? They came to the conclusion that the facility's deficient care was the reason why she got bedsore and dehydration. Then, these complicated and caused her death. They brought a lawsuit against the Illinois nursing home for negligence and wrongful death. They sought compensation for the pain, costs, and loss. In a private, negotiated settlement, the plaintiffs obtained a reported sum of $500,000.Get Legal Help for Dehydration Complications From Illinois Nursing Home Lawyers
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys available for consultation in the event that your loved one has suffered from injuries as a result of dehydration. You can get in touch with our nursing home lawyers to schedule a free initial consultation of your case where we can provide you with an honest assessment of your situation. Our lawyers can investigate the circumstances that may have lead to the dehydration or death your loved one. In the event that we determine the nursing homes care was contributed to your loved ones condition we will commence a lawsuit against the facility on your behalf. Call us today to learn your options. 888-424-5757