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Dehydration in Nursing Homes

Dehydration is a serious issue facing nursing home residents, and it is entirely preventable. Dehydration is inadequate fluid intake for the body's needs. Dehydration occurs in elderly residents who mainly have swallowing disorders or forget to drink water.

When dehydration in nursing homes isn't addressed, it can quickly lead to various medical issues such as confusion, dizziness, low blood pressure, and decreased alertness that may put nursing facility patients at risk for falls or other accidents.

The personal injury lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC are committed to protecting the legal rights of Illinois nursing home patients with injuries related to elderly dehydration or malnutrition.

Contact our nursing home abuse lawyers (888) 424-5757 for a confidential free consultation of an elder home dehydration case on behalf of your loved one.

Chicago nursing home dehydration attorney

The Importance of Proper Nutrition and Hydration for Nursing Home Residents

Food and water are essential for the body's systems to operate effectively. Every nursing home resident must maintain proper nutrition and proper hydration for the functioning of body organs.

Yet,  many nursing homes do not have adequate professional supervision of elderly patients and often violate federal law (Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987) requiring nursing homes to meet residents' nutrition needs.

Dehydration in Nursing Homes Studies and Statistics

Dehydration occurs when nursing home staff do not ensure the adequate fluid intake of their residents. Out of forty nursing home residents surveyed by the American Geriatric Society, statistics reveal that only one resident likely had sufficient fluid intake.

A study done by Commonwealth Fund found as many as 85% of the elderly population living in some of the nation's more than 17,000 nursing homes are malnourished and in some nursing homes, from 30 to 50% are underweight.

Reuters Health reported that nursing facility patients are more likely to be dehydrated than those in the broader community. Statistics revealed that over 10,000 nursing home, residents died between 2018 and 2021 due to malnutrition and dehydration in nursing homes.

Dehydration Health Complications

Serious health complications that could be caused by dehydration include the following:

  • High body temperature
  • Decreased urine output
  • Increased risk of coma
  • Muscle twitching
  • Seizures
  • Muscle weakness
  • Life-threatening conditions and even death with severe dehydration

Many long-term care facilities have inadequate staffing levels, contributing to high rates of neglect of nursing home residents.

Chicago nursing home malnutrition attorney

Nursing Facility Malnutrition and Dehydration Injury FAQs

Our attorneys understand that nursing home dehydration victims have unanswered questions, and an attorney from our law firm has answered some questions below.

For further information, contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC at (888) 424-5757 or use the contact form.

What are the signs of malnutrition?

Aside from the obvious signs of malnutrition when a loved one is not eating their meals, physical signs of malnutrition include the following symptoms:

  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Pale or yellowing skin coloring
  • Dental deterioration or bleeding gums
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Bed sores

What are the nursing interventions for preventing dehydration in nursing homes?

Caregivers, family, a loved one, and friends should ensure that the patient has enough fluids at mealtime, including ice, juice, sherbet, ice cream, gelatin, and water on their meal trays.

Additionally, facilities should regularly serve other fluids, such as tea and coffee beverages, throughout the day to avoid dehydration.

The resident should have a water intake of at least 100 mL while having their medications to prevent dehydration.

Each nursing home staff member should encourage fluid consumption of at least 60 mL of fluid every time they enter the resident's room to provide care or monitoring unless the patient is on a liquid-restrictive diet.

How do you rehydrate a dehydrated person?

Any diagnosis of dehydration in nursing residents needs immediate medical care from nursing home staff.

Older adults can replenish moderate dehydration by drinking fluids, such as water, popsicles, clear broth, or sports drinks.

Severely dehydrated patients will require intravenous fluids to ensure adequate hydration before the body's organs stop functioning.

To prevent dehydration, family members can play an essential role by ensuring residents have regular fluid intake during visits.

What are the symptoms of dehydration?

There are specific signs that can show an elderly person is suffering from nursing home dehydration. The early stages of dehydration in the elderly include dry mouth, dark urine, thirst, headache, and cool, dry skin.

Other crucial signs of dehydration in older adults include:

  • Dizziness or fatigue
  • Low blood pressure
  • Hallucination
  • Chronic illnesses
  • Flushed skin
  • Hypovolemic shock
  • Kidney disease, impaired kidney function, or kidney failure
  • Confusion
  • Chills
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Swelling of the brain

What are some causes of dehydration in the elderly?

Dehydration in nursing homes can be life-threatening and several factors contributing include:

  • Elderly patients with mobility issues
  • Swallowing difficulties resulting in a dry mouth
  • Residents with Alzheimer's disease who forget to drink liquids
  • Colds or sore throats
  • Diarrhea and vomiting due to illness
  • Excessive sweating from cancer medications
  • Increased urination due to diuretics
  • Insufficient monitoring of nursing home patients

Is Your Loved One Suffering from Nursing Home Dehydration or Malnutrition?

Is your loved one suffering from an injury, or have they died from nursing home dehydration or malnutrition caused by the lack of adequate staff or negligence?

If so, the nursing home abuse attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC are available with a free consultation to discuss the merits of your compensation case.

Contact us today at 888-424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or use the contact form on our website to learn about your loved ones' legal options.

Contingency Fee Agreement

Our personal injury attorneys accept all serious personal injury claims and wrongful death cases on a contingency fee agreement. This arrangement immediately ensures our clients have legal representation without paying any upfront out-of-pocket expenses.

All discussions with our nursing home neglect lawyers remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.

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