Dehydration in the Nursing Home an Epidemic?

Studies have suggested that approximately one-third of all nursing home residents suffer from some form of dehydration or malnutrition, a condition that can cause or aggravate more serious medical conditions, and may be caused by elder abuse or neglect.

Much of the problem can be attributed to poor staffing, whether inadequate numbers of staff, poor staff training, and a lack of individualized care. While California law requires 3.2 hours of certified nursing per patient, per day – a minimum number many nursing homes fail to meet – many experts believe the law is inadequate, advocating for an increase to 4.1 hours per resident, per day.

Karen Davis of the Commonwealth Fund, the funder of a report on nursing home care, says, “malnutrition, dehydration, and weight loss in nursing homes constitute one of the largest silent epidemics in this country.”

Any signs or symptoms of malnutrition, dehydration, or sudden weight loss should be promptly reported to the director of nursing, and the resident’s regular physician. Any other questions can be directed to Walton Law Firm LLP, who would be happy to answer any questions or concerns about nursing home care.