Nursing Home Dehydration and Malnutrition Lawsuits
Nursing home residents can be abused, mistreated or harmed in various ways. It is especially important for the elderly and infirm to receive regular and nutritious meals. Nursing home neglect can occur by acts of omissions, such as choosing not to carefully monitor food intake for residents. Dehydration occurs when the body receives less than the necessary amount of fluids. Dehydration of a nursing home resident is a sign of nursing home neglect. It is fundamental that nursing home residents receive daily nutrients and sufficient fluids to make sure they are hydrated and nutritionally satiated.
Dehydration and malnutrition can cause serious medical problems, particularly for the elderly population in nursing homes. In many of the cases Kreisman Law Offices handles, the nursing home resident has been hospitalized at least once and sometimes repeatedly for dehydration and malnutrition. It happens too frequently that after a several day hospital stay, the nursing home resident is returned to the nursing home where this cycle repeats itself. That is unacceptable for many reasons and certainly is a violation of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act and can lead to devastating injury to the patient.
Dehydration is more common in the elderly because many are on medication such as high blood pressure medicines that are diuretic. Diuretics are known to lead to dehydration because they tend to cause patients to sweat more and thirst for fluids less. In addition, many of the elderly who are infirm or fragile are unable to take fluids themselves and rely on caretakers. Nursing homes regularly are understaffed or have a staff not correctly trained in the specific needs of each resident. That understaffing or inexperience of staff puts many residents at risk of dehydration.
In nursing home residents who suffer from dehydration, it can lead to kidney failure. Dehydration can also cause lower blood pressure which can harm other organs of the body because of decreased blood flow. As blood pressure falls, so does the production of electrolytes. In residents where dehydration is the case, electrolyte abnormalities occur because of loss of important fluids and chemicals in the body. These chemicals include sodium, potassium and chloride.
Dehydration is a very serious condition. Symptoms include confusion, weakness, urinary tract infections, pneumonia and bed sores in bed-ridden patients. Nursing home residents become dehydrated in many cases because of inadequate nursing home staffing. There may be a lack of supervision which can contribute to resident dehydration in nursing homes. Fluid intake for the elderly and particularly those who are infirm at nursing homes is imperative.
Dehydration, although it may be caused by medicines, in too many instances the cause is negligence on the part of the nursing home. Federal and Illinois laws mandate that nursing homes follow the standards required of them to protect each nursing home resident from serious effects of dehydration and malnutrition. When a nursing home or long term nursing facility fails in meeting the federal and state requirements and a resident is injured as a result, the nursing home may be held liable for all resulting damages.
If you have a loved one, friend or relative who is residing in a nursing home, make certain that they have meal time assistance, including fluid intake and adequate water and other healthy drinks. If you have a loved one, relative or friend in a nursing home, be certain to be aware of symptoms of dehydration. Signs and symptoms include lethargy, cognitive and functional impairment.
If a loved one has been injured or harmed in a nursing home, contact Kreisman Law Offices 24 hours a day at 312.346.0045 or toll free 800.583.8002 for a free and immediate consultation, or complete a contact form online. We are here to assist you and your family so that responsible parties are held accountable for the injuries or death to individuals injured in nursing homes. With more than 40 years of experience in trying and settling nursing home cases in Illinois, we have the know-how to best handle your case. Our service is unmatched.