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What are the signs of dehydration in nursing home patients?

We often trust the care and attention of our elderly loved ones to a nursing home staff. Unfortunately, whether due to poor training, lack of funds or simple negligence, a staff might fail in their duties and cause serious complications such as malnutrition and dehydration.

Put simply, dehydration occurs when a person loses more water than they take in. It is common in elderly individuals for myriad reasons, including:

  • Reduced sense of thirst: Older adults don’t feel as thirsty as younger people do and might not realize when they need to rehydrate.
  • Limited mobility: Those who are bedridden or require mobility assistance might simply ignore their feelings of thirst because it is too much of a challenge to get something to drink.
  • Multiple medications: Some medications might act as diuretics, increasing urination.
  • Cognitive impairment: Elderly patients with dementia might need to be reminded to drink fluids.

Elderly nursing home patients can struggle with dehydration and suffer numerous challenging symptoms, including:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dry mouth
  • Sunken eyes
  • Infrequent urination
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Difficulty walking
  • Confusion

In addition, the lack of proper hydration could aid in the development of bed sores. Decubitus ulcers, commonly referred to as bed sores, are formed when the body remains in the same position for too long. The pressure against certain parts of the body can cause damage to the skin and underlying tissue. With proper hydration and regular repositioning, an elderly nursing home patient can avoid this painful condition.

If you are concerned that your elderly loved one is showing signs of dehydration or malnutrition, it is wise to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. A lawyer can review your case and provide the answers and representation you need.