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Signs of Dehydration in a Nursing Home

Published on Apr 9, 2024 at 3:11 pm in Nursing Home Abuse.

Signs of Dehydration in a Nursing Home

Proper hydration is vital to maintaining overall health and well-being regardless of age.

As we get older, our bodies lose some ability to retain water, leading to dehydration. For those in a nursing home, not receiving the proper hydration can lead to a variety of problems. Fortunately, if you spot these signs of dehydration in a nursing home early on, you can get the right help for your loved one.

A Lack of Hydration in Nursing Home Settings

Unfortunately, nursing home residents are at risk of dehydration, and it is a growing concern. One study published by the National Institute of Health suggests that up 38% of residents have experienced dehydration at some point.

Older individuals have a reduced sensation of thirst. As the body ages, its ability to sense thirst diminishes, leading to inadequate fluid intake.

Sometimes, nursing home residents may not know they need hydration. Often, this can be due to cognitive impairment, physical limitations, or medication side effects. Additionally, some elderly individuals may have difficulty swallowing or experience digestive issues, which can impact their ability to consume enough fluids.

With all these issues regarding hydration for nursing home residents, it is the responsibility of the staff and other caregivers to ensure their patients are receiving the right amount of fluids. If they fail to do so, it may lead to a wide range of health-related issues.

In some severe cases, dehydration could have been prevented, but the nursing home providers neglected their duties to properly care for the resident.

Signs of Dehydration in Nursing Homes

According to the Mayo Clinic, dehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you consume.

Your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions, and you become dehydrated when you don’t replace lost fluids. When someone does not receive the property of hydration, it can start to affect their cognitive abilities.

Residents may have difficulty concentrating, be confused, or even experience memory lapses.

While some mental health decline can be attributed to certain medical conditions, not receiving the proper amount of fluids can also be an indicator of dehydration. Any sudden changes to cognitive functions should raise concerns.

If you have to help your loved one to the restroom, you may want to inspect the color of their urine.

Amber or dark yellow urine is a sign of dehydration. Assessing this color during their regular toilet routines will help you detect dehydration in the early stages.

Dehydration can manifest in other physical forms, as well. Some dehydrated residents may be unsteady or weak. A lack of water or other fluids can cause them to struggle with mobility or even experience falls. You will also want to assess any changes in their balance or walking gait, as sudden changes could be attributed to dehydration.

Another common sign of dehydration is low blood pressure. Dehydrated individuals may feel dizzy or lightheaded due to low blood pressure. You will want to monitor their blood pressure regularly to detect any changes.

Dry skin and dry mouth are also warning signs of dehydration. Insufficient fluid intake affects the skin and mucous membranes. As a result, it can cause cracked lips, dry tongue, and parched skin. Other signs of dehydration include sunken eyes and reduced tear production.

Dehydrated individuals may also have an elevated heart rate.

Is This a Medical Issue or Neglect?

While dehydration might be attributed to the resident’s own medical issues, it can also be a sign of nursing home neglect. This can occur when caregivers fail to meet a dependent person’s basic physical and emotional needs. This failure can have severe consequences, especially when it comes to dehydration.

If you believe that your loved one may have experienced neglect due to dehydration, you can also look for other signs, such as:

  • Malnutrition: Neglect can lead to poor nutrition, which can exacerbate dehydration.
  • Poor personal hygiene: Neglected individuals may not receive proper care, including bathing and hydration.
  • Untreated wounds or injuries: Neglect can delay wound care, affecting overall health.
  • Unsanitary living conditions: Dirty surroundings may hinder access to water or proper hygiene.
  • Hazardous living conditions: Lack of heat or running water can impact residents’ well-being.

Any of these indicators may be a red flag that your loved one’s caregiver is not providing proper assistance.

In these situations, you may have a case of nursing home abuse in West Virginia. Consulting with an attorney, like those at DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC, can help you determine your next legal steps.

Dehydration Could Indicate Nursing Home Neglect

Sometimes, a lack of hydration is tied to a person’s medical conditions.

However, some incidents are more insidious, caused by neglect in a nursing home environment. All residents deserve dignity and respect. Remember, neglect is a serious issue, and caregivers must prioritize the well-being of those in their care.

Dehydration resulting from neglect is preventable, and timely intervention can save lives.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice. Viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Prior case results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
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