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Is dehydration evidence of nursing home neglect?

If you have an elderly relative who lives in a nursing home, you undoubtedly want him or her to receive top-level care. Still, because nursing homes can be busy places, you may expect your loved one to have to wait for certain services. Receiving a steady supply of fluids should not be one of them, though.

Dehydration is a major problem for older individuals. After all, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dehydration can cause seniors to sustain a heat-related injury, develop urinary problems, have seizures or even die.

Hydration challenges

It can be difficult to convince older individuals to consume enough fluids, as they often have medical conditions that make fluids taste unpalatable. This can present some unique challenges for geriatric nurses, as they must look for beverages that are pleasant to nursing home residents. They also must decide when to administer intravenous fluids.

Nurse frustration

Because many nursing home professionals must provide care to dozens of patients, hydration challenges may lead to nurse frustration. This may cause nurses to ignore residents or even treat them abusively. Sadly, these bad behaviors can quickly trigger negative health outcomes for vulnerable nursing home residents.

Your relative’s care

While it is not always evidence of nursing home neglect, dehydration may indicate your loved one is not receiving the care he or she needs to thrive. It also means you must act quickly to prevent your relative from suffering catastrophic injuries or dying.

Ultimately, by closely monitoring your loved one’s hydration, you can know exactly when you need to intervene to save his or her life.