What To Do When Nursing Home Neglect Leads To Dangerous Dehydration
Dehydration is one of the most common forms of nursing home neglect. The risk of dehydration is particularly acute in patients who suffer from health problems that render them incapable of properly communicating their needs.
Nursing home dehydration can happen for a number of different reasons. Some patients aren’t physically able to drink from a glass, either because they have difficulty swallowing or because they are unable to sit upright. In other cases, patients with cognitive or emotional difficulties may refuse certain beverages. In the worst cases the neglect is outright, with care givers simply refusing or forgetting to provide the patient with sufficient fluids.
In an ideal situation, nursing home workers would be able to monitor residents’ fluid intake to ensure they are maintaining proper hydration. However, inadequate staffing and improper supervision means that this doesn’t always happen.
Dehydration is dangerous, and can lead to health problems, including urinary tract infections, pneumonia, ulcers and cognitive impairments. In severe cases, it can cause life-threatening electrolyte imbalances.
Family members can help prevent against the risk of dehydration by making sure their elders’ needs are adequately cared for. When visiting, check to see that the elder has sufficient access to fluids, both during and in-between meals. If the elder is being given a beverage that he or she doesn’t care for, talk to the staff to see if alternate arrangements can be made.
If the elder is suffering from a condition that makes it hard for them to get sufficient fluids – for example, Alzheimer’s, dementia, psychiatric problems, stroke or diabetes – the caregiver should be setting up an individualized hydration plan. In some cases, it may be necessary to provide the elder with intravenous fluids.
Sadly, elder neglect is a major problem in nursing homes. If your loved one is injured or killed as a result of abuse or inadequate care, the law gives you the option to seek legal recourse against the caregiver. Not only will this help secure justice for your loved one, but it could also prevent similar harm from happening to other patients in the future.