Can dehydration rise to the level of elder neglect or abuse?

Excessive loss of water from the body is referred to as dehydration. It can result in serious health issues, especially those who are elderly and those who are bed bound. As the human body ages, it generally loses protein and gains fat, which retains less water than proteins. Also as they get older, the kidneys have a reduced ability to concentrate urine. This leads to larger volumes of urine and more frequent urination. Our thirst response is also diminished as we age, which means that we become thirsty less often and, as a result, we take in less fluid. Dehydration is also a factor in numerous other serious health related problems, including disorientation, confusion, urinary tract infections, development of bedsores, pneumonia, and death.

Residents of skilled nursing facilities often have additional contributing factors that make them more susceptible to dehydration, including dietary fluid restrictions, difficulty swallowing, and refusing to regularly intake fluids. A hydration program should be implemented for those elderly individuals at risk for dehydration. This type of program helps ensure that they receive assistance with the intake of fluids, are regularly offered fluids, monitored for symptoms of dehydration such as darkened urine or a dry mouth, and fluid intake and output is monitored and recorded accurately.

Unfortunately, dehydration also occurs too often as a direct result of a skilled nursing facility’s negligence or neglect. For example, if the nursing home administration fails to staff adequately, fails to provide education concerning the importance of hydration, relies too heavily on liquid supplements in order to meet nutritional and hydration needs. Failing to recognize and continually monitor a resident at risk for dehydration can likely be neglect and is a sign of elder abuse.

What Our Elder Abuse Law Firm Can Do for You

When you retain the services of our dedicated elder abuse law firm, you gain access to extensive knowledge, resources, and skill in elder neglect and abuse. We assist clients in obtaining compensation for the damages caused negligent and neglectful caregivers, long-term care facilities, and nursing homes. Neglect in nursing homes often results in catastrophic injury and even death and that it is why it is extremely urgent that you seek legal representation if you suspect neglect is the cause of your loved one’s dehydration.

For help filing actions against neglectful caregivers responsible for dehydration, contact the elder abuse attorneys at Needham Kepner & Fish LLP at (408) 956-6949 or contact us online.

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