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Dehydration: A common health problem in nursing homes

On Behalf of | May 28, 2021 | Elder Abuse |

When a loved one is in a nursing home, the hope is that the facility will provide the best quality care. You want to be sure that they’re eating well, getting enough to drink and having positive interactions with others. In fact, the entire reason people go into nursing homes is to be sure that they are cared for around the clock.

Unfortunately, some nursing homes do not treat patients well. Some patients may go hours or days without access to water or other beverages, which could lead to them becoming dehydrated. Even in cases where those liquids are available, if the resident’s intake isn’t closely monitored, then they could become dehydrated in the nursing home and fall ill due to neglect.

Is dehydration a sign of elder abuse?

Dehydration is a surprisingly common issue, and it is one that comes up often in nursing home settings. Certain medications may impact a person’s ability to hold water or their thirst. Your loved one may not want to drink water or may dislike the taste of certain beverages. Sometimes, illnesses or diseases make it hard to drink, too.

It is the nursing home’s responsibility to make sure they’re getting enough fluids. The facility should:

·       Provide adequate access to water at all times

·       Provide access to additional drink options, such as coffee or tea, when appropriate

·       Give residents liquid-based foods, like smoothies or soups, if they’re struggling with hydration

·       Encourage the use of liquid-based snacks, like popsicles, in some cases

On top of this, the facility should be tracking your loved one’s fluid intake. If dehydration is a concern, then fluid discharge (such as the amount of urine produced) should also be monitored.

Upon noticing signs of dehydration, the facility needs to take action. Some elderly people need regular intravenous infusions to help them get enough fluids. Others will need new dietary plans to encourage additional fluids in their diets.

If the nursing home doesn’t take action to help your loved one, then that is cause for concern. Dehydration can lead to serious problems, like falls and fainting, so it’s essential that it is quickly addressed and remedied whenever it’s present.