Can Dehydration Contribute to the Development of Bed Sores?

By Nursing Home Law Center


Yes. Dehydration occurs when a person does not receive enough liquid through oral consumption or via a feeding tube. Inadequate fluid consumption results in imbalance of the bodies chemistry and reduction of blood volume. Changes in blood volume and chemistry typically interfere with circulation. The decrease in circulation translates to inadequate supply of oxygen and nutrients to tissue– enabling bed sores (also called decubitus ulcers, pressure ulcers or pressure sores) to form.

Optimal hydration can only be determined by a medical professional after evaluating a patient’s fluid intake compared with their fluid output. Nonetheless, an agreed upon starting point is 1,500 to 2,000 ml (six to eight glasses) of fluid per day.

Elderly people are particularly susceptible to dehydration because many they have diminished thirst perception and they wish to avoid embarrassing accidents due to incontinence. Therefore, it is crucial for caregivers to pay special attention to the symptoms of potential dehydration:

  • Sunken eyes
  • Cracked lips
  • Ashen skin
  • Rapid decline in cognitive function
  • Chills
  • Dark colored urine
  • Weakness
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