Many of us know someone who lives or spent time in a nursing home. There are more than 16,000 nursing homes in the United States, housing approximately two million residents. While we expect nursing homes to provide a safe environment and skilled care for our loved ones, many fail to meet this expectation. This is called nursing home neglect.
Nursing homes are required by state and federal laws to provide their patients with a specific level of care. That care includes basic necessities like food and water, among other basic living conditions. Sadly, we’ve seen too many cases of dehydration and malnutrition in the United States.
Dehydration in nursing homes should be taken seriously. Staff members may forget to monitor patient water intake or outright refuse patients their water. A clear majority of these patients cannot get water themselves; therefore they rely on their caretakers in a nursing home to keep them hydrated.
Let’s take a look at some warning signs of dehydration:
- Always thirsty
- Loss of appetite
- Very dry skin
- Skin that pinches and holds its form
- Dark urine
- Dry mouth
- Redness in the face
- Fatigue or unexplained weakness
- Faintness and lightheadedness
- Deep or sunken eyes
- Inability to sweat
- Low blood pressure
- Elevated respiratory rate
Dehydration can be a common occurrence in nursing homes and is usually a sign of nursing home negligence. When a patient is not properly fed or hydrated it can mean that they were not adequately supervised on a daily basis. Elderly people may have difficulty eating or drinking and often need assistance to achieve proper nutrition and hydration. Additionally, the person may be unable to communicate their thirst or hunger, and medications may interfere with these cravings. Regardless of the resident’s personal situation, a caretaker/nursing home staff member should never neglect his/her needs.
If you are concerned that your elderly loved one is dehydrated, ask questions. Nursing home neglect and abuse is far too common and shouldn’t be tip-toed around. In order to effect change in how these facilities operate, we need to hold them accountable for their negligent practices. If you feel that your loved one was mistreated while living in a nursing home, call or message us today.