Dehydration in Nursing Homes

Written and edited by our team of expert legal content writers and reviewed and approved by Daniel Harwin

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Dehydration is a health problem an elderly nursing home resident can experience due to malnutrition, neglect, or elder abuse. Failure to ensure that all residents have enough fresh drinking water could lead to dehydration and related conditions, such as low blood pressure or delirium. Dehydration is preventable. If a senior suffers from severe dehydration, he or she has likely been the victim of elder abuse or neglect. In these cases, contact Freedland Harwin Valori Gander, PL, to discuss the possibility of a lawsuit.

How Might Dehydration Occur in a Nursing Home Setting?

Dehydration can occur if a senior does not drink enough fluids. Passing urine, sweating, and even breathing causes the body to lose water. If the elderly person doesn’t drink enough water to make up for these losses, dehydration can occur. It is up to nursing home staff members and caregivers to make sure residents always replenish their fluids so that their bodies have enough water to perform vital bodily functions. Otherwise, individuals could suffer physical and emotional harm, including death.

In a nursing home setting, dehydration is generally the result of elder neglect or abuse. It is neglect if a nursing home staff member unintentionally or wantonly does not give an elderly person enough water to drink or does not remind him or her to stay hydrated. These are duties caregivers owe to residents, and a breach of these duties is negligence in the eyes of the law. If a plaintiff can prove negligence, the at-fault party will have to compensate the plaintiff for medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other harms related to dehydration.

Effects of Dehydration on the Elderly

Dehydration is a more common issue than many people realize. Dehydration can cause a range of symptoms and health consequences depending on the degree of thirst, including:

  • Dry or cotton mouth
  • Feeling thirsty
  • Dry, paper skin
  • Decrease in urine output
  • The inability to sweat
  • Sunken eyes and hollow cheeks
  • Confusion and irritability
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Kidney damage

Chronic dehydration in nursing home facilities can occur because many seniors don’t have a strong drive for fluids and don’t experience thirst the same ways they did when they were younger. This can result in them not complaining when they feel thirsty. Nursing home facilities and their staff members should be aware of lesser thirst drives and act to prevent dehydration, such as giving residents plenty of fluids and reminding them to drink every few hours.

Trust Freedland Harwin Valori Gander, PL, With Your Dehydration Claim

Dehydration is a grave issue that can worsen your elderly loved one’s health status and exacerbate existing conditions. If a doctor diagnoses your family member with dehydration-related injuries or illnesses, consult an attorney about the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the nursing home or caregiver. A lawsuit could force the perpetrator to change his or her protocol, as well as result in financial recovery for the resident and his/her family in Florida. Call (954) 467-6400 today to schedule your cost-free consultation with one of our experienced local lawyers.

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