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Dehydration in Nursing Homes can Lead to Serious Medical Issues

As relatives age, many families opt to allow nursing homes to provide these relatives with necessary physical care and emotional support. Oftentimes, nursing facilities are the best possible option for aging or ill relatives. However, there are also times when these facilities fall short.

It is for this reason that it is important for loved ones to look out for subtle signs of neglect or abuse related to the care that their relatives receive in these facilities. Even respected nursing facilities may fall short and ultimately need to be held accountable. 

Elderly Relatives Require More Assistance

To some people, it may seem a little shocking that someone can suffer from severe dehydration indoors; however, this is exactly the case in many nursing homes. People should remember that elderly individuals often have chronic medical problems that can range markedly in severity, from dementia to mobility problems and everything in between.

The common theme with these problems is that patients could have trouble getting access to water that is necessary to keep them well. Patients with dementia may simply forget or not realize that they need water while patients with mobility issues may not be able to move and access the water that they desperately desire.

Dehydration Causes Numerous Medical Problems

The body depends on a delicate balance between water and ions to survive. When this balance is disturbed, the body’s processes will start to shut down one by one. One of the first organs to go is the kidneys. The kidneys depend on water to help them properly process waste and ions, keeping each where it belongs. Without water, the concentration of the ions is thrown off and the kidneys can have trouble filtering out waste products from the bloodstream. The kidneys can start to fail and waste can start to build up in the bloodstream, damaging the liver, pancreas, and even the brain. Dehydration worsens over time until it is corrected.

Nursing Homes Should Make Sure Residents have Adequate Hydration

Because of the health problems that many elderly people can suffer, it is important for nursing homes to make sure that their residents are properly hydrated. There are several signs that people, including nursing home staff and family members, can look for. If people start to have cracked lips, poor skin turgor, or a rising heart rate while at rest, this could be a sign that the patient is dehydrated. Remember that nursing home residents may not know that they require water. Therefore, nursing homes should keep a close eye on their residents to avoid the consequences of dehydration. They could be severe.

Everyone needs water to survive. Family members who suspect their loved ones of being neglected while in the care of a nursing home should consider contacting an experienced legal attorney for assistance. Not least because holding a nursing facility accountable for your loved one's care may help to ensure the care of others in the future. 

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