Dehydration and Malnutrition in Nursing Homes

Dehydration & malnutrition in nursing homes with elderly woman with glass of water

When your loved one is residing in a nursing home, their health, comfort, and safety are your top priorities, and you expect a high level of care. Good nutrition and proper hydration are two key aspects of maintaining good health, and it’s important for elderly individuals to be provided both in their living facility. Unfortunately, dehydration and malnutrition are still common occurrences in nursing homes. At Turnbull, Holcomb & LeMoine, PC, your loved one’s quality of life is just as important to us as it is to you, and we’re here to help you make it right.

Symptoms and Effects of Dehydration in Nursing Homes

Hydration is imperative for our bodies to perform its vital functions, and in elderly individuals, it’s important to encourage their intake of water. Many seniors do not have a strong desire of thirst, and when senior care professionals fail to help elders stay hydrated, dehydration and neglect ensue.

If your loved one is dehydrated, you may notice symptoms such as a dry mouth, dry, papery skin, being thirsty, or a decrease in frequency of urination. As dehydration becomes more severe, you may notice your loved one being irritable, confused, or delirious, as well as having low blood pressure, an increased rate of breathing, exhibiting sunken eyes or cheeks, or experiencing unconsciousness.

If dehydration occurs for a long period of time, your family member could potentially suffer from complications, such as seizures, brain swelling caused by drinking too much fluid after being dehydrated, kidney failure, or a coma, which is the most severe effect of dehydration.

Symptoms and Effects of Malnutrition in Nursing Homes

Proper nutrition in elderly individuals is important, as it can help fight of infection, weak muscles, and confusion and promote good health overall. Malnutrition can result in immobility, which can increase the risk of falling, a weakened immune system, ulcers, or pneumonia. Malnutrition can occur when nursing home staff neglects to offer adequate food or monitor food intake of their residents.

By law, nursing home facilities are required to provide a balanced meal plan for all its residents, which should include proper levels of vitamins, minerals, calories, and protein. If your loved one is suffering from malnutrition, you may notice signs such as dull eyes, thinning hair, edema in the arms and legs, confusion not related to Alzheimer’s, pale skin, and poor skin elasticity.

Nursing Home Abuse

Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is a common occurrence, so it is important to speak up if you have any suspicions. Thousands of families are affected each year, and according to Nursing Home Abuse Justice, approximately 15,000 complaints of abuse or neglect were filed in 2020 alone. Not all elder abuse gets reported, as many seniors are either unwilling or unable to discuss their experiences. We encourage families to familiarize themselves with the signs of nursing home abuse to help protect their loved ones in a senior living facility.

What to Do

If you suspect elder abuse in your loved one’s living facility, reach out to an attorney to help you stand up for your loved one’s dignity and their right to a safe, healthy living environment. Turnbull, Holcomb & LeMoine, PC is here for your family every step of the way and we are ready to fight alongside you.

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