Dehydration is defined as a rapid weight loss of greater than three percent of body weight, occurring when a person loses more fluids than they take in. Because the body needs a sufficient amount of water in order to be able to properly function, being dehydrated can be a serious threat resulting in serious injuries, medical complications, and even death.
Older adults are often predisposed to dehydration due to age-related changes in total body water, thirst perception, and renal concentration. According to research published in the Journal of National Medical Association, dehydration is often cited as the most common fluid and electrolyte disorder in frail elders, both in long-term care settings and in the community.
Nursing homes are required to ensure that nursing home residents receive an adequate diet that meets their nutritional needs, as well as sufficient fluids to maintain proper health and hydration. Unfortunately, dehydration is often a sign of nursing home abuse and neglect. A capable attorney is prepared to meet with residents and their families to discuss their options. Contact a Palm Beach Gardens nursing home dehydration lawyer today.
Potential Consequences of Dehydration
Being dehydrated means more than just being thirsty. Since water is critical to functionality, dehydration can lead to several dangerous conditions, including:
- Greater susceptibility to injury and illness
- Increased likelihood of falls
- Immune suppression resulting in increased susceptibility to infections and disease
Overall, the body is composed of nearly 60 percent water, and certain parts of the body such as the brain and lungs are composed of 73 percent and 83 percent water, respectively. Therefore, being dehydrated even to a small degree can have a major impact on a nursing home resident’s overall health and well-being. Speak with a Palm Beach Gardens nursing home dehydration lawyer to learn more.
Addressing Dehydration Risk Factors
Drinking water and fluids are key to preventing dehydration. However, another important component of preventing dehydration is ensuring that a nursing home resident is receiving the proper nutrition. A proper diet should consist of healthy foods containing key vitamins and minerals and should be designed for a resident’s specific dietary needs.
In addition to proper nutrition, regulating environmental conditions is another critical aspect of preventing dehydration. The body cools itself by excreting water through sweat and vapor, which means it is important to monitor and regulate a resident’s room and spaces—especially in the Palm Beach Gardens heat. Specifically, Florida Administrative Code Section 59A-4.122(e) requires nursing homes to provide residents with comfortable and safe room temperature levels.
Is Nursing Home Dehydration a Sign of Negligence?
There are natural conditions that can cause dehydration such as illnesses, flu, and diabetes. If these conditions are not properly treated and addressed, they can cause serious problems and complications. Nursing homes have an affirmative duty to identify, address, and help resolve these conditions and prevent dehydration. If nursing home staff failed to recognize that a resident is prone to dehydration or is suffering from dehydration, it can constitute negligence. A Palm Beach Gardens nursing home dehydration lawyer could reference this in an injury claim.
To establish liability on part of the nursing home in any situation where a resident suffers an injury from dehydration, the plaintiff in a personal injury suit must prove—pursuant to Fla. Stat. 400.023(4)—that the nursing home breached their duty of care towards the resident, causing dehydration that resulted in the suffering an injury, dying, or sustaining some other form of damage.Since dehydration can occur naturally, it is often critical to conduct a thorough investigation as to how and why a resident became dehydrated.
Turn to a Trusted Palm Beach Gardens Nursing Home Dehydration Attorney
If you suspect a loved one is suffering from malnutrition or dehydration, contact a Palm Beach Gardens nursing home dehydration lawyer. A nursing home attorney could investigate the potential causes of your loved one’s dehydration and help you construct a case through which you can pursue compensation on their behalf.