Can You Sue a Nursing Home for Dehydration?
Water and hydration become even more critical when your loved one gets older. Proper hydration and nutrition are the keys to the best possible health.
On the flip side, a resident's dehydration will cause both short term and long-term health effects. They can even cause life threatening complications.
If your loved one has been injured because of malnutrition and dehydration in a nursing home, our law firm can help.
We work to ensure that families can recover financially if their loved ones suffer severe injuries from nursing home abuse and neglect.
Neglect Plagues the Nursing Home Industry
Nursing home patients are entirely dependent on the facility and staff to care for their everyday needs. They are not able to care for themselves on their own.
The problem is that a nursing home facility is a business that wants to make money. In some unfortunate cases, what would be necessary expenses to preserve a resident's health and well-being is an expense for the nursing facility.
Staff costs money, and taking care of elderly residents costs money that the nursing home must spend.
In nursing home abuse and neglect cases, the nursing home has cut a corner or done something else wrong to cause severe injuries. This is becoming far more common as nursing staff costs the facility more money.
How Dehydration Occurs
Dehydration happens when your body loses more water than it takes in. As a result, your body does not have the water it needs to remain healthy.
Hydration is an absolute necessity. Any fluids that are lost must be replaced. When someone sweats or urinates, they must drink to maintain their hydration level.
Without the proper fluids, their body will begin to lose some functions.
The Importance of Proper Hydration
Water is critical for overall good health. The body depends on water to function. It maintains body temperature, lubricates the joints and helps remove waste. Water also helps people with nutrient absorption.
It is recommended that older adults drink about 57 fluid ounces of water each day.
Even though they may not need as much water as younger people given their level of physical activity, the water that they do drink is critical.
Nursing Home Malnutrition and Dehydration Stems from Neglect
Not only must nursing home staff ensure that residents are properly hydrated and fed, but they must adjust the resident's diet and routine if they spot any signs that the senior is suffering from dehydration.
According to 42 CFR §483.25 (g)(2), the nursing home must "ensure that the patient is offered sufficient fluid intake to maintain proper hydration and health."
If staff spot signs of dehydration, they should change the type of fluid that the resident is offered to make sure that they are better hydrated.
Not only must residents be given drinks, but the liquid must be suitable for their needs.
Some Nursing Homes Are Plain Lazy or Cheap
Many nursing home residents are incontinent. Staff must either make set times for them to use the toilet or change them when they have an accident.
If nursing homes leave residents sitting in their own urine, it raises the risk of a urinary tract infection.
However, some staff do not want to be bothered to help residents with the toilet or change them, so they cut back on giving residents water in the hopes that they will urinate less.
However, nursing homes may not have enough staff to perform vital functions. The staff that they have may be stretched beyond their capabilities or just disinterested in their job.
They may not even be properly trained to know how much water they need to give and when they need to give it.
Sometimes, the same murky cup of water sits on a resident's table for many hours or days without any staff action.
Nursing Home Residents Must Also Be Properly Fed
The nursing home must also prevent malnutrition and dehydration by ensuring that residents are fed three meals each day. The food must be "palatable, attractive and at a safe and appetizing temperature. 42 C.F.R. §483.60 (d)(2)
A nursing home cannot just feed its residents anything. It must have a nutrition director or someone qualified to serve in the same capacity, and the food served must account for the resident's needs.
If the resident loses a certain percentage of their body weight, the nursing home must take action and adjust the food intake.
Malnutrition will cause severe health problems and even death.
The Signs and Symptoms of Nursing Home Dehydration
Here are some signs of nursing home dehydration that you (and most certainly nursing home staff) should be looking for when assessing nursing home residents:
- Confusion and irritability
- Dark colored urine
- Dry mouth
- Papery and dry skin
- Sunken eyes and cheeks
- An inability to sweat
- A decrease in urine production
Dehydration Can Injure a Nursing Home Resident
Here are some of the possible side effects of nursing home malnutrition and dehydration:
- Kidney failure (loss of kidney function)
- Dry mouth
- Low blood pressure
- Urinary tract infections
- Swelling of the brain
Long Term Health Damage From Malnutrition and Dehydration
Nursing home malnutrition and dehydration can also impact the resident's health in the long term.
When a resident does not have the proper nutrition and hydration, they will lose part of their body weight.
This will make them more vulnerable to injuries in a fall because they will have less ability to move, and their bones will become more brittle.
In addition, key digestive functions could be impaired because the internal organs or not regularly processing food and water.
Dehydration and Malnutrition Can Lead to Bed Sores
Pressure sores happen when there is a breakdown of the skin after a nursing home resident has been left in the same position for too long.
The skin will get irritated and red. Then, when the nursing home does give the senior the proper care, the pressure sore will become infected and eventually become a gaping hole in the skin.
Hydration provides the moisture that the skin needs. Without it, the skin will become dried out.
Moist skin is the best protection against pressure sores. When the skin is dryer, it will become irritated far easier.
Then, when staff do not properly move nursing home residents, pressure sores will be more likely to form. The already dry condition of the skin means that a bed sore can progress far faster than it otherwise would have.
Nursing Homes Are Responsible for Elderly Dehydration
When a nursing home resident suffers from dehydration, the one explanation is that it can be attributed to nursing home abuse and neglect.
Given that federal regulations require the nursing home to look for signs of dehydration and adjust the liquid intake accordingly, the fact that your loved one became dehydrated would seemingly require the nursing home to show that they took the proper steps.
You have the burden of proof any time that you seek financial compensation for what happened to your loved one.
The fact that your loved one suffered from malnutrition and dehydration shows that nursing homes did something wrong. That conclusion would be strengthened when your loved one suffered from severe dehydration.
Suing for Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home neglect lawyers can work on your behalf to hold the facility accountable for what they did to your loved one.
If your senior has suffered injuries, you can get justice when you file a nursing home neglect case against the facility responsible for it.
The first thing that you need to do is hire a lawyer to investigate what happened to your loved one and begin to establish the facts that are necessary for a lawsuit.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers offers free consultations to families of insured nursing home residents.
Many Dehydration and Malnutrition Lawsuits Are Wrongful Death Cases
Malnutrition and dehydration are several factors that can cause the resident's death. In some cases, the nursing home simply does not act. Dehydration will then be a contributing factor in the resident's death.
Many nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuits will allege dehydration as one of the many factors that contributed to the death of their loved one.
Usually, it goes along with things like falls and infections because the nursing home facility that is neglectful fails to take care of residents in numerous ways.
Our law firm will review the entirety of your loved one's case during the free consultation and when we are investigating legal action and will include all facts that would show that your senior was the victim of nursing home abuse and neglect.
Damages in a Nursing Home Dehydration Lawsuit
When your senior has been injured after the nursing home failed to exercise reasonable care, you can receive the following damages:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Depending on the extent of the nursing home's negligence, you may even be able to seek punitive damages against the facility, although these are very rare.
Nonetheless, if the nursing home's carelessness practically left your loved one to die or caused severe injury, this is something that a jury would consider.
If your loved one has died from injuries caused by malnutrition and dehydration, we can help your family file a wrongful death lawsuit.
This case could lead to financial compensation for losses that your family suffered from losing a loved one to nursing home neglect and abuse.
This compensation is in addition to what the estate could recover for damages that the nursing home resident suffered before they died.
Family members can also file a lawsuit against the nursing home for medical malpractice when their healthcare providers have failed to provide reasonable medical care for your loved one.
Nursing homes are also responsible for health care, in addition to helping resident's with their activities of daily life.
File a Nursing Home Negligence Lawsuit
The law firm of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers will work so that your family can receive financial compensation in a nursing home negligence case.
If your loved one has injuries suffered under the supposed care of a nursing home, we can advise you about the lawsuit process.
Call us today at (888) 424-5757 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation.
During your free consultation, we can explain the process for filing a nursing home neglect lawsuit and what you must do to prove that the nursing home was responsible for the severe dehydration and other neglect-related injuries that your loved one suffered.
You can sue for nursing home malnutrition and dehydration.
We have helped families just like yours recover financial compensation when their loved one did not receive adequate care from a nursing home.
After your free consultation, you can decide whether to enter into an attorney client relationship with us to pursue compensation for the injuries to your family member.
We will treat all of your information as confidential or sensitive information.