Malnutrition and Dehydration In Nursing Homes
Nutrition and hydration are critical in the nursing home setting. Residents who do not receive adequate nutrition and hydration are more at risk for the development of pressure ulcers, infection, weakness leading to immobility, weight loss, renal failure, urinary tract infections, falls and poor nutrition and hydration make it more difficult for existing pressure ulcers and infections to heal.
Two out of five nursing home residents suffer from malnutrition. Dehydration is the most common fluid and electrolyte disorder of frail older people.
According to the Health Care Financing Administration, dehydration was ranked one of the ten most frequent admitting diagnoses in a study on Medicare hospitalizations.
There are a variety of factors which can lead to malnutrition. Depression, an increasing problem among the elderly, is a potential cause of malnutrition because individuals suffering from depression have a tendency to eat less and in turn to do not receive appropriate vitamins and minerals to prevent malnutrition.
Other causes of malnutrition include difficulty swallowing and adverse drug effects such as vomiting and diarrhea. Nursing homes often fail to take steps to prevent malnutrition by not monitoring resident food intake and output, not assisting with meals, not providing the appropriate diet, not providing a comfortable environment to promote eating and not providing food that is appetizing.
Disorders of fluid/electrolyte balance occur more frequently in the elderly population. These disorders may be caused by excessive water loss, medications, inability to increase water intake or failure to recognize the need to increase water intake. Dehydration is the most common fluid disorder of frail elders.
Dehydration occurs when a persons loss of body fluids is more than his or her intake of fluids. Dehydration can lead to a variety of serious health problems, like:
- Confusion and disorientation
- Urinary tract infections
- Renal failure
- Weight loss
Increasing fluid intake in the elderly is important and relatively simple. The nursing home should implement a hydration program for anyone who might be at risk for dehydration.
A hydration program would include assisting the person with drinking, offering fluids at mealtime and in between meals, looking for signs and symptoms of dehydration, notifying the physician if such signs and symptoms are present, recording the resident’s fluid intake and intravenous fluid replacement when the physician deems it necessary.
If your loved one shows even one of these signs, you should:
Immediately inform the doctor and staff members of your observations. Request a care planning conference with the physician to discuss possible causes for the symptoms and to set up a plan for meals and feeding assistance. Monitor the situation. If it does not improve within days, you should contact authorities.
Contact our Negligence Attorneys Today
If you or your loved one is the victim of any type of nursing home abuse or neglect, you must contact an experienced New Mexico nursing home attorney to protect your rights and make sure you receive compensation for harm suffered at the nursing home.
Taking legal action against an abusive or negligent nursing home is one of the best ways to raise awareness, improve quality of care and effectively improve the life of your loved one and other victims of nursing home abuse/negligence.
At PKSD, we are dedicated to preventing negligence and abuse from occurring in nursing homes. Our nursing home negligence attorneys are experts in this complicated area of the law, and work relentlessly to hold nursing homes accountable.
Our team of injury lawyers, paralegals and nurses have many year of experience handling a large volume of nursing home abuse cases in New Mexico. Our team helps clients and their families obtain financial restitution for their pain, suffering, financial loss and medical expenses. We provide each client with extensive resources, aggressive representation, personalized attention and compassionate legal care.
Call PKSD for legal help today, at 505-677-7777 .