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Dehydration and nursing homes

Nursing home service providers have a lot of responsibilities. They must ensure that residents are properly monitored, that they receive their medications in the right dosage and at the right times, and that they are adequately fed. Though these issues are often addressed, there is another matter that is often overlooked: dehydration.

Far too many nursing homes fail to keep their residents hydrated. The results can be quite serious, and could even lead to death. Amongst the risks associated with dehydration are brain swelling, seizures, kidney failure, low blood volume shock and coma. The issue of dehydration and it potential consequences is especially problematic in the nursing home setting because elderly individuals are less able to conserve water, their sense of thirst is diminished, and those who eat less may neglect to drink fluids altogether. In other words, in many instances, it is up to nursing home professionals to ensure these individuals are receiving enough fluids.

Those who are neglected by nursing home professionals can be left with serious injuries that can leave them with physical, emotional, and financial losses that may be difficult to cope with. This is unfair and unacceptable as nursing home professionals owe their residents a certain duty of care. Those who have been hurt by a breach of this duty of care may be able to take legal action in an attempt to impose liability and recover compensation.

All too often, nursing homes get away with nursing home neglect. However, by being observant and asking the right questions, family members might be able to ensure their loved one’s safety. When that is not possible, then an attorney may be able to step in and help the family hold the nursing home accountable for its negligence.

Source: Mayo Clinic, “Dehydration,” accessed on Nov. 20, 2015


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