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Dehydration: A serious issue in Illinois nursing homes

If your loved one is in a nursing home, they may have multiple or severe health concerns requiring treatment and supervision. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, a person can experience neglect or abuse in a nursing home. 

If you are worried that someone you love could be the victim of this mistreatment, one potential issue you should watch for is dehydration.

Signs of dehydration

Dehydration means that a person is not taking in as much fluid as they are losing. This deficit can have a devastating impact on a person’s health, causing conditions like confusion, seizures and kidney problems.

Some of the signs you can look for if your loved one is in a nursing home include:

  • Difficulty balancing
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Infrequent urination
  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Unquenchable thirst

If you notice these signs, notify the care provider or clinic administrators right away.

What does dehydration mean?

In some cases, dehydration can be an indication that someone you love is the victim of neglect in a nursing home. It could be the result of harmful conditions like:

  • Lack of regular, personal care
  • Understaffing at a facility
  • Withholding nutrition
  • Untrained, unsupervised staff members
  • Lack of simple interventions

Under these circumstances, an individual or facility could be liable for damages experienced as a result of negligence. 

That said, dehydration is a common issue that people with compromised or failing health experience. Between medication and conditions that influence fluid intake, dehydration can occur in patients who do receive adequate care and supervision.

Addressing and preventing dehydration

Because dehydration in seniors is not uncommon, there are several ways to treat or prevent it. Some solutions include:

  • Setting reminders and schedules to drink water
  • Flavoring or enhancing water to make it more enjoyable to drink
  • Incorporating foods with high water content into their diet (e.g., fruit, soup and yogurt)
  • Providing hydrating gummies or other supplements
  • Intravenous administration of fluids

These measures can treat and prevent dehydration.

However, if your loved one experienced dehydration in a nursing home, pay close attention to their environment, attitude and statements. They could reveal whether dehydration is an unfortunate medical event or the result of misconduct. 

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