Nursing home dehydration death is the most common form of negligent care at assisted living facilities. A study published in the mid 2000s claimed that together with malnutrition, dehydration claimed lives of over 14,000 residents between 1999 and 2002. In another matter, nursing home residents are found to be not adequately hydrated. Researchers traced a variety of illness in 25 out of 40 monitored to dehydration. Many Kentucky nursing home death lawsuits have been filed over dehydration death of residents highlight the scourge of negligence at care facilities.
What is dehydration?
Dehydration refers to the loss of fluid in the body. When a patient loses 3 percent of his or her body weight in rapid manner, he or she is said to be suffering from severe dehydration, says the American Medical Association. It affects a resident when fluid intake is less than fluid loss.
Dehydration onsets as the body suffers from excessive fluid loss, prolonged illness, or a drastic reduction in the fluid intake. Unless the loss of fluid is compensated, the body fails to carry on many functions in the absence of enough water. The situation particularly worsens in the case of elderly nursing home residents. Physical and psychological problems prevent their fluid intake and dehydration interrupts functions of internal organs leading to medical symptoms and growing health concerns. Often these complications turn life-threatening.
What are symptoms of dehydration in nursing home residents?
The early-stage dehydration symptoms in nursing home residents include:
- dry and sticky mouth
- increased thirst frequency
- dry skin
- weakness and fatigue
- rapid weight loss
- loss of appetite
The symptoms worsen gradually and become more pronounced with sunken eyes, faintness or lightheadedness, low blood pressure, unconsciousness, and increasing confusion and irritability.
What are the causes of elderly dehydration?
The most common complaint as enunciated in Kentucky nursing home dehydration death lawsuits is negligence of caregivers to provide adequate fluid to residents. At this stage, when physical and psychological conditions of residents impair their ability to arrange or voice for the required amount of fluid, negligence is certainly the primary cause of dehydration.
A Kentucky nursing home dehydration death lawsuit filed in 2011 highlighted the fact that a physically restrained resident is not provided water at night to stop him from doing frequent urination. Inadequate, untrained, and not supervised properly, caregivers develop a negligent attitude and become careless in providing adequate and timely fluid to residents.
What are complications caused by elderly dehydration?
Chronic dehydration in nursing home residents causes them to suffer from skin lesions, weakness, bedsores, immune deficiency, pneumonia, and electrolyte imbalances. The condition also increases the risk of infection, worsening dementia, and death. Kidney failure, constipation, swelling in the brain, hematoma, and seizures apart from coma and death is also attributed to the effects of dehydration in the elderly.
Why blame nursing homes over dehydration issues?
Nursing homes are there to care for residents. It is their sacred duty to keep a patient properly hydrated with adequate and timely supply of fluids. They must have individual patient hydration plans and medical professionals to identify and monitor patients for dehydration symptoms. Treatments should be provided at the earliest possible. However, in most of the cases, it is found that caregivers are negligent or avoid opportunities to offer fluid to residents timely and according to their need. Lack of training and staff expertise prevent early identification of dehydration signs while lack of supervision at nursing homes encourages deliration in the duty of care.
To know more about your legal option to sue a nursing home for dehydration death, injury and inadequate care, call at 1-800-632-1404 or contact us online to speak with our expert Kentucky nursing home dehydration attorney.