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Dehydration can be a symptom of nursing home abuse and neglect that can be difficult to spot at first.
Although not commonly discussed, nursing home neglect is a common problem that occurs daily in the United States. It can be identified in various ways (some less obvious than others).
What is Dehydration?
Dehydration, although not the first thing you would probably think of when it comes to abuse, can potentially be a significant indicator that something isn’t quite right.
Signs and symptoms of dehydration include:
- Dry mouth and tongue
- Lack of or no tears when crying
- Sunken eyes & cheeks
- Listlessness or irritability
- Extreme thirst
- Dark-colored urine
- Dizziness and/or confusion.
The human body consists of approximately 60% water and relies on an adequate amount of fluids each day to function correctly.
Dehydration can weaken the body, making it more difficult to maintain strength, stamina, and alertness. In rare cases, it can lead to severe complications, including seizures, kidney stones, kidney failure, shock, coma, and death.
Your loved ones in nursing homes will often rely on their caregivers to provide them with sufficient water, but this is not always enough. Remind your loved ones to drink enough fluids throughout the day whenever you visit them.
Dehydration can go unnoticed for long periods, and prevention is more viable than a cure, so ensuring that it doesn’t happen in the first place is the best plan of action.
However, if dehydration were to occur to your loved one, some critical steps should be taken to warrant a safe and successful recovery. It’s paramount to identify the signs earlier than later so actions can be taken in a timely matter.
Significant dehydration can be life-threatening and may require hospitalization for the patient to receive intravenous fluids.
The link between Dehydration and Nursing Home Neglect
Dehydration can be a side effect of nursing home neglect; it is paramount to understand what it is and how to recognize signs of dehydration early on so that it can be appropriately treated.
Dehydration is the result of excessive fluid loss in the body. This occurs when a person loses more than 2% of their bodily fluids without replenishing them. Most people will experience mild dehydration at some point in their lives. However, if it happens to your loved one living in a nursing home, you should be extra cautious.
Looking out for Indicators of Trouble in Regards to Your Loved One
It’s critical to record or document indicators of dehydration in your loved one as soon as you notice the signs, as most issues that are identified early enough can be successfully dealt with in an appropriate matter.
Among many other signs, dehydration can be a warning sign of nursing home neglect. It’s critical to correctly identify it, record where and when you saw it, and thus provide the most accurate and up-to-date information to authorities. Only then can appropriate action be taken to ensure it never happens again to your loved one.
If you think you’ve identified nursing home abuse or neglect with your loved one, then you should consult with professional nursing home abuse lawyers on what precisely the federal and state laws in this practice area cover. Solomon & Relihan can provide consultations to review the types of situations in which parties have an actionable nursing home neglect case.
Martin J. Solomon is a principal at Solomon & Relihan PC and has been licensed to practice law in Arizona since 1970. He practices exclusively in the area of personal injury litigation, with an emphasis on nursing home abuse and neglect. Martin is a graduate of the University of Arizona College of Law, a past president of the Arizona Trial Lawyers Association, and has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Arizona Center for Disability Law and the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest. He is a member of the Nursing Home Litigation Group in the American Association for Justice (formerly the American Trial Lawyers Association), the National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform and the Maricopa Elder Abuse Prevent Prevention Alliance.