Dehydration can happen when a person loses more fluid than they take in which results in the body not having an adequate supply of water to perform its normal functions, according to the Mayo Clinic. Although anyone can become dehydrated if they fail to take in enough liquids, there are two groups of individuals who are more at risk, older adults and individuals who suffer from chronic illnesses. Unfortunately, many older adults who are living in nursing homes also suffer from one or more health conditions which means their risk of becoming dehydrated is much higher than the average person.
Why are older adults more likely to become dehydrated?
According to the Mayo Clinic, when you age, “your body’s fluid reserve becomes smaller” meaning your “ability to conserve water is reduced and your thirst sense becomes less acute.” In addition to this, many older adults are unable to take in the appropriate amount of fluids due to their limited ability to move. For instance, if an older adult is bedridden or cannot move without assistance, they will have to rely on someone else to get their fluids for them.
Although nursing home staff members are expected to understand the importance of getting in an adequate amount of fluids, sometimes certain factors interfere with a worker’s ability to provide a nursing home resident with the amount of fluids they need on a daily basis. Some of these factors include:
- The facility is understaffed.
- Certain workers may not be properly trained and do not understand the importance of fluid intake.
- Some workers may be overworked, burnt out, and are simply not concerned with how much fluid certain residents intake daily.
- Certain nursing home staff members may neglect the residents they are supposed to be assisting.
If you have reason to believe that a family member is being neglected by nursing home staff members, contact Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd. to speak with one of our Chicago, IL nursing home neglect attorneys. We can discuss with you the matter in-depth and determine what the best course of action would be for you to take. Our office can be reached at 1-312-384-1920.
Chronic Illnesses and Dehydration
Individuals who suffer from chronic illnesses are also at a heightened risk of becoming dehydrated. For instance, the Mayo Clinic says that if an individual has uncontrolled or untreated diabetes, those individuals are at a higher risk of becoming dehydrated. Other conditions such as kidney disease and even a cold could also increase a person’s risk of becoming dehydrated as the medications they take may cause increased urination or they may feel too sick to want to drink.
What can cause a nursing home resident to become dehydrated?
There are a number of reasons why nursing home residents become dehydrated. The Mayo Clinic has listed these as some common causes:
- Diarrhea and vomiting. Severe or acute diarrhea “can cause a tremendous loss of water and electrolytes in a short amount of time.” Vomiting and diarrhea together can cause an individual to lose even more fluids and minerals which can lead to dehydration.
- Fever. Typically, “the higher the fever, the more dehydrated you may become.” If an older adult suffers a fever for an extended period of time and begins to vomit or experience diarrhea, “the problem only worsens.”
- Excessive sweating. Naturally, the more you sweat the more water you lose. If an older adult sweats persistently and the water isn’t replaced, they could become dehydrated.
- Increased urination. There are certain health conditions that can cause an older adult to experience increased urination. If the condition is left unaddressed and the individual’s fluids are not replaced, they too can suffer from dehydration.
Nursing home staff members play a major role in keeping an older adult healthy. In most cases, they are responsible for ensuring the residents they care for are eating, drinking, and moving around regularly. They are also expected to provide adequate supervision so that if a resident becomes sick or dehydrated, they are able to provide them with immediate attention to prevent their condition from worsening.
Now, because many nursing homes in Illinois have become understaffed and/or employ workers who are not cut out to handle the job, many nursing home residents wind up being neglected which can then lead to them suffering from various conditions including, but not limited to, malnutrition and dehydration.
Contact Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd. If You Suspect Your Loved One is a Victim of Neglect or Abuse
If your loved one has been harmed because he/she was neglected or abused by nursing home staff members in Chicago, IL, our nursing home abuse law firm is prepared to help you address the issue. Whether that means filing a complaint against the home or filing a civil lawsuit, our firm is dedicated to providing victims of nursing home abuse and neglect with the representation they need to obtain the justice they deserve.
Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd. is located at:
221 North La Salle Drive, Suite 1100
Chicago, IL 60601