Share This Post
Dehydration in Nursing Homes – Important Signs and Symptoms
In our last two articles, we have discussed how dehydration is a silent form of neglect (and sometimes abuse) in nursing homes, and how dehydration is associated with understaffing and poor training nursing homes. Below we will discuss how you can help recognize, address, and hopefully prevent a loved one from becoming harmed by dehydration in nursing homes that results in from neglect.
Dehydration In Nursing Homes That Results From Neglect
Despite the fact that there are multiple state and federal regulations that that impose a duty upon the nursing home to ensure patients receive the hydration they need to maintain health, too often nursing homes ignore these important regulations and break the promises they make to patients and families and hire insufficient and incompetent staff. These hiring decisions foreseeably result in harm to patients, including the development of pressure sores, injuries from preventable nursing home falls, malnutrition, sexual abuse, and dehydration among other problems. Those who have studied the prevalence of patient harm in nursing homes have reported staggering figures, with as many as 33% of nursing home patients suffering harm as a result of the care they receive in nursing homes.
Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration
It is important that those with loved ones in nursing homes be on the lookout for important signs and symptoms of dehydration or electrolyte imbalances. Many symptoms of dehydration can be non-specific, and are also associated with other medical conditions. However, the more symptoms present, the more critical it becomes for a physician consider the possibility of dehydration as an underlying issue that may need to be treated.
Some important symptoms of dehydration include:
- Decline in function that may be abrupt
- Dry mucous membranes
- Sunken eyes
- Recent rapid weight loss
- Dry eyes and/or mouth
- Change in mental status
- Small amount of concentrated urine
- Urinary tract infections
- Elevated pulse
- Change in ability to carry out activities of daily living
- Increased combativeness and confusion
- Constipation and/or fecal impaction
What You Can Do If You Suspect Dehydration In A Nursing Home
If you suspect that a patient is suffering from dehydration, or otherwise may be a victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, it is imperative that you promptly bring the matter to the attention of the patient’s physician. The sooner, the better. Be vigilant and persistent if you still have concerns.
In addition, any time you believe that a nursing home patient is being subjected to neglect or abuse, you can and should report this suspected mistreatment to the proper authorities to ensure that the suspected neglect or abuse is properly investigated. Filing a nursing home complaint is easy. You can find out more information about how to file a nursing home complaint here. By filing a complaint, you can help protect victims of nursing home neglect/abuse, ensure that any patient at risk of harm is protected, and help ensure that the facility corrects any care deficiencies identified by the state investigators. You can file the complaint anonymously.
If a loved one has suffered serious injury or death as a result of dehydration, or any other form of patient neglect/abuse, you may also have grounds to file a civil action against those responsible for the nursing home. Keep in mind, there are deadlines for filing civil cases against nursing homes for patient neglect or abuse. If you are considering such a claim, you should consult with a qualified nursing home neglect/abuse attorney without delay.
Jeff Powless is an attorney and the author of the 2017 book, Abuses and Excuses: How To Hold Bad Nursing Homes Accountable. Abuses and Excuses breaks new ground in helping patients and families hold bad nursing homes accountable, sharing a wealth of insider strategies and insights. It’s an eye opening account of corporate greed, acts of neglect and abuse, an insidious industry culture of cover-up, and the actual harm that inevitably befalls vulnerable nursing home patients all across the country with shocking frequency.
YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN:
Complaint Filed Against Grace Village Nursing Home After Patient Suffered 15 Falls And Died From Head Injury