Many families decide to place their elderly loved one in a nursing home. For most, the decision comes as an attempt to ensure that their senior family member receives the proper care, attention, and protection they deserve.
Nursing home facilities are uniquely qualified to care for elderly residents as they are always required under the Nursing Home Reform Act to have proper staffing, including a registered nurse, and other appropriate medical assistance available at all times. While the nursing home staff must handle all emergency medical issues related to elderly residents, they also have the legal and ethical responsibility to identify medical issues, such as dehydration.
If your loved one suffered as a result of the nursing home staff’s failure to remain vigilant and notice any signs or symptoms of dehydration, learn more about your legal rights below.
Reasons Nursing Home Staff Employees Fail to Remain Vigilant
Unfortunately, it is common knowledge that nursing homes throughout the United States suffer from challenges with respect to overworking and understaffing. In other cases, nursing homes hire untrained or inexperienced workers.
All of these scenarios cause the workforce of a nursing home to remain stressed, overworked, exhausted, and poorly equipped to handle the complex challenges of providing constant care, protection, and vigilance for their elderly residents. However, whatever the reason for their failure to remain vigilant, the result is the same, which is poor treatment and supervision of elderly residents. This poor supervision often can lead to serious injuries or even fatalities.
Failure to Notice Signs or Symptoms of Dehydration
Dehydration is a common problem in nursing homes, as some nursing home residents fail to drink enough water to ensure their good health.
In some cases, the elderly resident may have difficulty swallowing, known as dysphagia. When a resident has dysphagia, they may not feel inclined to drink due to their medical condition. In these instances, if there is a failure of the nursing home staff to remain vigilant regarding monitoring their residents, dehydration can occur quite quickly.
According to Mayo Clinic, the elderly are especially at risk for dehydration, as they have a naturally low water volume in their body as they age. They also might take medications that put them more at risk for dehydration.
Signs or Symptoms of Dehydration
Some of the signs or symptoms of dehydration that all nursing home employees should remain vigilant and notice immediately in order to provide proper hydration and care include:
- ThirstDry or cracked lips
- Loss of appetite
- Dry or fragile skin
- Difficulty speaking or becoming confused
- Dark-colored urine
- Faintness or dizziness
- Dry mouth
- Difficulty breathing
These signs and symptoms of dehydration are common among elderly residents, and nursing homes staff employees should always remain vigilant to notice any of these warning signs. Any sign or symptom of dehydration should receive immediate medical treatment, and a physician should receive notice in order to ensure that the elderly resident receives the treatment they need to restore them to health.
Negligence and Abuse in Nursing Home Settings
The failure to notice signs and symptoms of dehydration in elderly residents of a nursing home can lead to serious medical issues or even death. Hydration should be part of the routine care of a nursing home resident, and nursing home staff should not only provide constant hydration for their residents, but also take the time to ensure that they actually drink the water provided to them.
If you notice that your elderly loved one has any signs or symptoms of dehydration when visiting them in their nursing home, contact management immediately. If you feel your concerns are not addressed appropriately, you have the legal right to remove them from the nursing home, contact Adult Protective Services, or even contact law enforcement if necessary.
If your loved one suffered injuries because of dehydration, you could hold the nursing home accountable for their neglect or abuse.
Learn How We Can Help
There is no reason that a nursing home should not continually monitor its elderly residents for something simple such as dehydration.
Dehydration is a simple problem to fix in the early stages. However, if left untreated, it can lead to serious medical complications or fatalities. If you believe your elderly loved one suffered from dehydration and medical issues as a result of dehydration, due to the failure of the nursing home staff to remain vigilant and provide proper care, you may have the legal right to pursue compensation for their injuries and losses.
Consider contacting our team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336 today to learn how we can help you with your case.