Dehydration

The nursing home negligence and nursing home neglect attorneys at the Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi have handled many cases of dehydration in nursing homes. We understand that there are many injuries that can result from dehydration and our extensive experience has prepared us to provide you and your loved ones with comprehensive legal representation.

Dehydration is an excessive loss of body fluid, which can result from diarrhea or infections, the adverse effects of medications, or decreased fluid intake. Water deprivation can drastically harm elderly residents of nursing homes because they do not have the necessary fluid content in their body to perform normal and crucial bodily functions.

Nursing home residents are at a greater risk of becoming dehydrated because they rely on staff members to meet their fluid intake requirements. Thirst mechanisms deteriorate with age, while bodily fluid levels decline, and cognitive disorders, such as dementia, can cause residents to forget to drink water as often as they need to. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the caregiver to ensure that your loved one’s fluid intake levels are healthy.

Signs of Dehydration

Dehydration symptoms include:

  • Thirst
  • Loss of appetite
  • Very dry mouth and skin
  • Skin flushing (Markedly red in the face)
  • Little or no urination — any urine that is produced will be dark yellow or amber color
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Irritability and confusion in adults
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Lack of sweating
  • Sunken eyes
  • Low blood pressure
  • Fever
  • Vomiting, difficulty breathing and seizures – in which case emergency help is needed

Complications

Dehydrated residents are more susceptible to urinary tract infections, pneumonia, pressure ulcers, and confusion and disorientation. Dehydration can also lead to falls, renal failure, lethargy, stroke and ultimately death. While all of these can be extremely serious injuries, they are widely preventable, often simply through proper hydration.

Treatment

To promote adequate hydration, a skilled nursing facility should adopt an individualized daily schedule for each resident. The facility should also train their nursing staff so that they are capable of recognizing the signs of dehydration at early stage and of intervening appropriately before the symptoms get worse.

Unfortunately, dehydration is often a direct result of understaffing. Facilities with staffing shortages often operate under such a rushed environment that caregivers are unable to provide each patient with the individualized care that he or she needs. Instead, patients are often left thirsty and dehydrated because nurses forget to give them water. In more extreme cases, we have even seen patients denied of water because nurses don’t have time to assist residents who urinate too frequently. These are clear signs of neglect. If your loved one has suffered through similar situations, he or she may be a victim of elder abuse.

Living in a country where we are fortunate enough to have plenty of safe drinking water, no individual should have to suffer from dehydration. The Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi believes that every individual should be as free of suffering as possible, even in their last moments. Along with our dedication to fighting for victims of elder abuse, our attorneys have years of experience litigating nursing home neglect cases. Don’t allow skilled nursing facilities to continue putting patients’ lives at risk. Please Contact Us immediately so that we can help protect your loved one’s best interests and hold the responsible parties accountable.