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Is Your Loved One At Risk Of Dehydration In The Nursing Home?

Not getting enough liquids does more than a make a person thirsty. Untreated, it can lead to a host of problems, including a weakened immune system, kidney damage, heart damage and even death. Unfortunately, dehydration is a critical concern in many long-term care facilities in Ohio and nationwide.

How Big Is This Problem?

According to the report called "Malnutrition and Dehydration in Nursing Homes: Key Issues in Prevention and Treatment," more than 33 percent of all residents in U.S. nursing homes may suffer from either dehydration or malnutrition. This means that if your loved one is in a care facility, he or she may very well be at risk.

What Causes Dehydration In So Many Nursing Facilities?

Many different factors can contribute to insufficient fluid intake among the elderly. In nursing homes in particular, some common causes of dehydration include:

  • Not enough dietary staff members and nursing assistants to adequately care for all the patients
  • High turnover rates among staff members, leading to inconsistent care
  • Physical and mental conditions such as depression, stroke, dementia and swallowing disorders
  • Suppressed feelings of thirst among the elderly
  • Medications that contribute to fluid loss

What Are The Symptoms To Watch For?

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of mild dehydration can include:

  • Dry mouth and skin
  • Infrequent urination and constipation
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness

Symptoms of severe dehydration can include:

  • Irritability and confusion
  • Dry, shriveled skin that doesn't bounce back when stretched or pinched
  • Sunken eyes
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat and breathing
  • Fever

One of the most telling signs is the color of urine. If it's clear or light in color, it generally means a person is well hydrated. If it's dark in color, that person is likely dehydrated.

Do You Have A Case Of Nursing Home Neglect?

If you entrusted a loved one to an Ohio nursing home, and your loved one lost 5 percent of his or her body weight within 30 days (or 10 percent within 90 days), you may have a personal injury claim. Such neglect is never acceptable. Consider consulting an attorney skilled in nursing home abuse and neglect to learn more about your rights and options.

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