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Dehydration is a threat to the elderly nursing home patient

Dehydration is a serious problem among nursing home patients. When someone becomes dehydrated, the body simply does not work as well as it could if it was properly hydrated. In severe cases, fainting and even death are possible.

People in nursing homes are more likely to be dehydrated than the elders living in a typical community, according to research. One doctor admitted that dehydration is a significant problem among various countries including the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

Why is dehydration such a major problem for nursing home patients?

Part of the reason is age. As you get older, you may not get thirsty as quickly, so you drink less. That in itself leads to dehydration. The elderly also use medications, in many cases, which could lead to dehydration. What may be most surprising is the speed at which a person can become dehydrated. If a person has a fever or diarrhea, it may take only a day or less.

How can you help prevent your loved one from suffering from dehydration?

It's a good idea to visit him or her regularly in the nursing home. Remember to remind the nursing home staff to remind your loved one to drink fluids when you're not there. Water should always be accessible to patients, and some nursing facilities go as far as to track how much the patient is drinking.

Dehydration has the potential to cause life-threatening illnesses, so it's vital to stop it early. If your loved one suffers as a result of not having access to water or not being reminded to drink, the nursing home may be liable for his or her injuries.

Source: Reuters, "Nursing home patients more likely to be dehydrated," Shereen Lehman, accessed July 10, 2017

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