Nursing home negligence and abuse are serious problems across the United States. Whether it is a poorly trained staff, insufficient staffing levels at the facility or an inattentive staff, elderly residents can suffer severe injuries and deadly conditions. From medication errors and falls to malnutrition and dehydration, a nursing home staff can dramatically impact a resident’s health.
Due to a number of factors, elderly loved ones might struggle with dehydration. These factors can include:
- Reduced sense of thirst
- Limited mobility
- Medication side effects
- Health conditions
- Common illnesses
Older adults can suffer immediate and devastating effects of dehydration. Loved ones must pay careful attention to signs and symptoms such as:
- Muscle cramps
- Dry mouth
- Sunken eyes
- Less frequent urination
- Low urine output
- Dark-colored urine
Additionally, nursing home residents might suffer signs of severe dehydration, including a rapid heartbeat, difficulty walking and confusion.
It is not uncommon for inattention to become abuse. If a nursing home staff intentionally withholds hydration, a resident might suffer. In addition, the use of restraints, bedrails or locked wheelchairs can prevent an individual from taking a sip of water.
What can a loved one do?
Preventing dehydration in the elderly might be as simple as reminding them to take a drink. As noted earlier, older adults can lose their sense of thirst. Simply suggesting that they need something to drink can help them avoid disastrous results. Other tips for loved ones:
- Bring water with you on visits
- Encourage them to keep a glass of water next to them at all times and finish it at least once per day
- Suggest that they drink an entire glass of water with any medication rather than just a sip
- Monitor their urine color
- Suggest foods with high water content such as fruits, vegetables and soup
If you’re concerned about the care and attention your loved one is receiving at a nursing home, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney. It might be possible to recover monetary compensation for their actions and force them to improve their services as well.