Regardless of a person’s age or physical condition, consuming water is essential for having good health. According to the Mayo Clinic, men should drink 15.5 cups of fluids every day, while women should consume 11.5 cups.
Dehydration is often an early sign of nursing home neglect. Because the condition may exacerbate other ailments or even be deadly itself, you may need to act quickly to ensure your elderly loved one is receiving the fluids he or she needs to thrive.
Symptoms of dehydration in nursing home residents
The symptoms of dehydration may be similar to other conditions. Still, if your loved one exhibits any of the following, you probably want to seek a full medical examination to check for dehydration:
- Dizziness, confusion or nausea
- Dry skin or chapped lips
- Difficulty swallowing
- Loss of appetite
- Repeated urinary tract infections
The vulnerability of nursing home residents
Anyone at any age who does not consume enough fluids is vulnerable to dehydration. Nursing home residents, though, may be at increased risk for a few reasons. First, your loved one may have mobility issues that make it virtually impossible to access water without assistance. The medications your relative takes may also speed up the dehydration process.
Additionally, nursing home residents may not have the mental acuity to know when to drink water. If someone at the nursing home does not encourage your loved one to consume fluids regularly, dehydration may be imminent.
Ultimately, whether your ailing relative receives the fluids he or she needs mostly depends on the actions of health care providers. If your loved one suffers from dehydration, there is a good chance nursing home professionals breached their duty of care.