Dehydration results when an elderly resident in a nursing home does not receive enough water or hydration. In some cases, medications may contribute to dehydration in elderly residents. Families take great care to select nursing homes in order to provide a safe and secure environment for their elderly loved one. They expect that their loved one will receive the attention they need, as well as the medications required at the appropriate times.
Families also expect that their elderly loved one will also receive monitoring and supervision to prevent medical conditions such as dehydration that may occur following the consumption of different types of medications. Learn more about how you may have the legal right to pursue justice if your elderly loved one suffered from dehydration in a nursing home as a result of the nursing home employees failing to properly monitor medications.
Causes of Dehydration
According to Nutrients, elderly residents in nursing homes suffer from dehydration for a number of reasons, including simply not drinking enough water on a daily basis. In other cases, nursing home residents have challenges with swallowing, known as dysphagia.
Additionally, some elderly residents may have neurodegenerative diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, or other medical conditions that make swallowing difficult. Another cause of dehydration in elderly residents of a nursing home is due to their medications directly causing them to become dehydrated over time.
Dehydration as a Result of Medication
Some prescriptions have the side effect of dehydration. Learn more about some of them below.
Some of the medications include those taken for blood pressure, kidney conditions, edema, liver failure, glaucoma, and heart disease. The common element to all of these medications is that they include a diuretic, which means that they actually increase the amount of salt and water expelled from a person’s body through urination in order to prevent bloating from occurring. Anyone taking these medications may go to the restroom more often, resulting in dehydration if they do not replenish those fluids regularly.
Additionally, laxatives put elderly residents at risk of dehydration due to their ability to soften stool and affect the amount of water in a person’s gastrointestinal system.
Drugs That Cause Diarrhea or Vomiting
Some medications list a side effect of diarrhea or vomiting. If this is the case, a resident should have close monitoring to ensure that they do not suffer from dehydration as these medications can cause dehydration as a result of either diarrhea or vomiting.
Some elderly residents develop cancer, and as a result, must go through chemotherapy treatments. Some of the medications associated with chemotherapy have side effects of vomiting and diarrhea. The residents that receive chemotherapy should have close monitoring to ensure that they do not develop dehydration as a result of their medications, according to The Journal of Supportive Oncology.
It is important to note that every resident of a nursing home will have these medications listed on their plan of care, and therefore the staff will have full knowledge that a particular resident is taking a medication known to cause dehydration. As a result, any failure to properly monitor medications of nursing home residents which may cause dehydration is a form of nursing home negligence.
Consequences of Dehydration
While Cleveland Clinic reports that dehydration is common in the elderly, this is a preventable condition. When a person becomes dehydrated, they lack the fluids necessary for their body to operate properly. Hydration remains critical for the overall health of every person, especially for older residents of nursing homes that may suffer from already weakened immune systems or other medical challenges, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
When the body does not have enough fluids, it cannot store glycogen, a source of energy. When this occurs, an elderly senior may suffer from muscle weakness, cramps, respiratory challenges, spasms, abnormal heart rhythms, paralysis, and possible death.
Learn How We Can Help
Nursing homes have the responsibility to ensure the care and supervision of elderly residents in all areas of life. The reason families place their loved ones into the care of a nursing home facility is to ensure this constant monitoring and diligent care. Failing to properly monitor elderly residents regarding their medication usage is a form of nursing home negligence.
If your elderly loved one suffered any complications as a result of nursing home negligence, consider contacting our legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336 today to learn how we can help you with your case.