There are many different reasons a person may bring a lawsuit against a nursing home or medical staff member. Sometimes a nursing home harms a resident not by what they did but by what they failed to do. Residents in a nursing home are often elderly, suffering from age-related illnesses, or recovering from surgery. They therefore require a much higher level of care than a healthy person would. When nursing homes are understaffed or for other reasons cannot adequately care for their residents, the residents’ health may suffer as a result. One of the most common ailments caused by nursing home neglect is dehydration.
The Sick and Elderly Are Especially Vulnerable
While a human can survive without food for an impressive three weeks or more, water is a different story. Our bodies crave water, and without it, they start to shut down. Most individuals would die without water within a mere three days. When nursing home residents do not get enough to drink, they can suffer from considerable health consequences and physical discomfort.
Dehydration is sadly quite common among elderly residents staying in nursing homes. There are a few reasons for this. Some residents have physical disabilities which make it difficult to sit up or swallow water. Other residents have trouble speaking and cannot tell staff when they are thirsty. Those residents with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other cognitive impairments may not be able to recognize when they are dehydrated, let alone express this to nursing home staff. Because many residents cannot do so themselves, nursing home staff have a duty to monitor residents’ hydration and make sure they are getting enough to drink. When nursing home staff fail to uphold this serious responsibility, they and the organization they work for can be held legally liable for residents’ suffering and harm.
Warning Signs of Dehydration
If you have a loved one in a nursing home, keep a lookout for these warning signs of chronic dehydration:
- Constant thirst;
- White, ashen, dry, or flaky skin;
- Infrequent urination or urine which is very dark in color;
- Dry mouth;
- Unusually frequent canker sores;
- Inability to sweat;
- Confusion or irritability;
- Low blood pressure; and
- Delirious thinking or hallucinations.
Dehydration, if left untreated, can be deadly. Furthermore, dehydration can be a warning sign of more serious neglect within the nursing home.
Chicago, IL Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyers
If your loved one has been mistreated by a nursing home, Schwartz Injury Law can help you hold the guilty parties responsible. To schedule a free consultation with one of our dedicated Chicago nursing home neglect attorneys, call us today at 312-535-4625.