The Dangers of Dehydration

Dehydration is one of the more prevalent problems seen in nursing homes. Patients that are confined to their bed have little to no control over their fluid intake. A bed-ridden patient is essentially limited to the water they have within their reach. When the pitcher runs dry and doesn’t get replaced, the fluid intake can suffer. If a resident’s fluid intake and output isn’t monitored, the resident runs the risk of developing a myriad of problems. 

Thomas Gallivan at New York Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog explains how dehydration leads to other problems:

Although it would seem that keeping a resident hydrated in a nursing home setting would be simple enough, it is one of the most common diagnoses when nursing home residents are discharged from a nursing home to a hospital.

Dehydration can occur if residents are on certain types of medication and/or if a resident has diarrhea. In addition, some nursing home residents become refuse to eat or drink. However, in these situations, it is incumbent upon the nursing home staff to be more vigilant in monitoring the resident’s hydration. Unfortunately, dehydration is often the result of nursing home neglect and/or understaffing. Dehydration can lead to:

1) Infection;
2) Confusion;
3) Weakness;
4) Bedsores;
5) Pneumonia; and
6) Death.

Signs of dehydration include dry mouth, grey or ashen skin, confusion, dark or amber urine, low urine output, fever, delirium, and infection. We cannot stress enough how important it is for families of nursing home residents to be a constant presence where a loved one is a resident. By doing so, the family members can observe and react appropriately if signs or symptoms of neglect or abuse arise.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen reports from nursing homes where residents were dehydrated, yet consistently left without water within their reach. These same people, though clearly showing the signs of dehydration, weren’t monitored as to the fluid intake and output. Its these simple things that or so simple to do that get lost in budget cuts. We never see the dehydration in isolation. We see it combined with a myriad of other problems, just as described above. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, please follow Tom’s advice and keep an eye on these things that the staff may be missing.

About Kevin
Kevin Coluccio was recently named one of the Top 10 Super Lawyers in Washington State. He has long history of successful elder abuse/neglect cases and has a stellar reputation for getting results for his injury clients in serious car crashes, pedestrian accidents, trucking accidents, maritime claims, and asbestos injury cases.