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Dehydration and Malnutrition Signs in Nursing Homes Residents


Everyone wants their loved ones to be safe when being placed in a nursing home, however, there is an unfortunate possibility of abuse or neglect that loved ones should always be aware of. Some of the most common types of neglect are malnutrition and dehydration, which can ultimately become deadly. Below we will discuss some signs to look for and ways to go about addressing these if you feel your loved one is being unproperly cared for.

Dehydration is defined as an excessive loss of body fluid. Dehydration can be caused by several different factors, including but not limited to: illness, medication side effects, excessive fluid loss, or decrease in fluid intake.

In nursing homes, dehydration most often occurs from sheer neglect when staff members either forget or refuse to provide enough fluids. Because a majority of residents cannot physically get their own drinks, or voice that they need them, it is important that the staff be thorough and professional when caring for their patients. Dehydration can set in quickly and open the resident up to many additional issues that could be severe and ultimately deadly.

Below are some signs to look out for when visiting your loved ones in a nursing home:
• Thirst
• Loss of Appetite
• Dry Skin
• Skin Flushing (red in the face)
• Dark Colored Urine
• Dry Mouth
• Fatigue or Weakness
• Chills
• Dizziness, Faintness, or Lightheadedness

More serious symptoms could also occur, such as:
• Vomiting
• Difficulty Breathing
• Seizures
• Fever
• Low Blood Pressure
• Increased Heart Rate
• Unconsciousness

Another leading form of neglect in nursing homes is malnutrition. Malnutrition is defined as the condition that results from eating an unbalanced diet that lacks the proper amount of nutrients or has too many of certain kind of nutrients. Malnutrition can occur when there is a lack of food or the wrong servings sizes are given out to residents. Even when the correct portions are served, dental problems may make it difficult for residents to eat certain kinds of foods. Additionally, elderly people are prone to appetite loss, so it’s especially important for staff members to adequately monitor and help residents during meal time.

Staffing shortages remain a large concern in nursing homes across the nation. When there is a shortage of staff, some residents’ needs are dismissed or pushed aside.
Some signs to especially look out for that may signal malnutrition are:
• Weight Loss
• Fatigue
• Dizziness
• Swollen and/or Bleeding Gums
• Fragile Bones, Muscle Loss, Weakness
• Mental Decline and Memory Loss
• Decreased Organ Function
• Bloated Abdomen
• Dry Skin
• Tooth Decay
• Confusion

If your loved one is showing signs that he or she is suffering from malnutrition or dehydration, they may not be receiving the appropriate attention and care at their nursing facility. Contact Potter Burnett today to schedule a free case evaluation or for more information about our legal representation. Let’s restore care, confidence, and pride for your loved ones.