Dehydration is caused by losing more bodily fluids through urination and sweat than a person takes in by drinking and eating. The elderly, people with chronic illnesses and children are most at risk for dehydration.
Dehydration is a problem in nursing homes where residents suffer from medical problems and staff members neglect the patients for whom they are charged with caring. In addition to causing discomfort, dehydration can upset bodily functions, including blood pressure, oxygen levels and kidney function.
It can lead to coma or death, if not treated.
A nursing home resident who has become dehydrated may be a victim of neglect who requires immediate medical assistance. A lawyer who has experience with nursing home neglect cases in South Carolina can help dehydration victims get the compensation they deserve.
Call Joye Law Firm now or fill out our online contact form for a free and confidential review of your nursing home claim.
The Danger of Nursing Home Dehydration
Dehydration is a result of the body not having enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. In less-severe cases, it can be corrected by drinking water and taking supplements that replace electrolytes, which are salts that help carry electrical signals between the body’s cells. Severe dehydration requires emergency medical treatment.
Among nursing home residents, dehydration can be the result of illness that causes intense diarrhea, vomiting or fever accompanied by excessive sweating. In many cases, dehydration in nursing home patients is a result of neglect.
A study of dehydration in nursing homes by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found inadequate fluid intake among nearly all the residents studied. The study listed several factors resulting in dehydration among nursing home residents:
- Undiagnosed dysphagia (difficulty or discomfort in swallowing).
- Cognitive and functional impairment, making residents unable to recognize a need for or to request fluids.
- Lack of attention to residents’ individual beverage preferences, which would increase intake.
- Inadequate number of knowledgeable staff.
- Lack of supervision of certified nursing assistants (primarily tasked with assessing and monitoring patients) by professional medical staff.
“When staffing is inadequate and supervision is poor, residents with moderate to severe dysphagia, severe cognitive and functional impairment, aphasia [loss of ability to speak or understand speech] or inability to speak English, and a lack of family or friends to assist them at mealtime are at great risk for dehydration,” researchers concluded.
Severe dehydration can cause kidney failure, low-blood-volume shock, coma and death. Even less-severe dehydration can contribute to weight loss, which puts nursing home residents at higher risk for functional decline and hip fractures. This often leads to decline and premature death. Weight loss may also cause muscle wasting, infections and increased risk of bedsores (pressure ulcers).
Legal Help for S.C. Nursing Home Residents Who Suffered Dehydration
The lawyers at Joye Law Firm can help if a South Carolina nursing home allowed a resident to become dangerously dehydrated. Many times, family members learn that a loved one has been neglected at a nursing home only when medical complications arise or a family member dies unexpectedly. Nursing home residents are often unable to understand or explain how they are being harmed.
Nursing homes have many opportunities to hide problems or deny liability for medical problems when they occur. An outside investigation of your loved one’s medical decline and a lawsuit on his or her behalf can make a nursing home respond to your questions and concerns. Just hearing from an attorney who has experience with nursing home neglect cases in South Carolina may make a facility’s management more responsive.
Joye Law Firm’s nursing home neglect lawyers have the knowledge, experience and dedication necessary to seek results for patients who have been injured by negligent care in South Carolina long-term care facilities. We can help you obtain independent medical care if it is necessary and pursue any valid claim available to right the wrong that has been done to your loved one.
Our objective is to obtain appropriate care and compensation for those who have been injured, and to put a halt to nursing home negligence where we can.
Call Joye Law Firm now or fill out our contact form for a free and confidential initial consultation about your legal options.
- Mayo Clinic – Dehydration
- Journal of the American Geriatrics Society – Factors contributing to dehydration in nursing homes: inadequate staffing and lack of professional supervision
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality – Long-stay nursing home care: percent of residents who lose too much weight