Elder Neglect: Dehydration in the Nursing Home

Dehydration in the nursing home can lead to significant complications, including death. If the human body is deprived of necessary fluids, several symptoms may appear, including an increased heart rate, decreased sweating, decreased urination, extreme fatigue, headaches, cramps, and tingling of the limbs.

The causes of dehydration are several. The most common is vomiting, diarrhea, malnutrition, or the simple failure to replenish the body with the liquids that are lost from sweating and urinating. Sadly, this is the most common cause of the dehydration in the nursing home.

Nursing homes have a legal duty to provide adequate hydration to their residents, and to provide the proper training to their employees to recognize the signs and symptoms of dehydration. The aging process itself will often cause a decrease in appetite, but this is never an excuse for dehydration in a patient (even though it’s an excuse frequently used by nursing homes). For patients at risk, nursing homes are required to monitor the food intake and urine output of its residents, and keep the medical doctor informed of the resident’s condition. The failure to do this may be a violation of the standard of care.

If you have any questions about dehydration in the nursing home or residential care setting, call Walton Law Firm LLP at (866) 607-1325.