legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Nursing Home Dehydration Lawsuit
Dehydration is a debilitating condition when you use or lose more fluid than you consume. The result is that your body and its organs - heart, liver, kidney - do not have sufficient water and other fluids to continue their normal functions.
Although dehydration occurs in the lives of every person at some time or another, it is extremely dangerous for the elderly population. Most cases of inadequate hydration are preventable if the nursing home staff follows established protocols in providing care.
At least a third of the 1.6 million nursing home residents in the United States may suffer from malnutrition or dehydration, conditions that can aggravate or cause more severe medical problems, national experts on nutrition and dehydration in nursing homes conclude in a new report.
When nursing home patients or residents don't get sufficient liquids, the result can be severe internal injuries or even death. Our law firm appreciates these dangers and prosecutes nursing home negligence cases involving nursing home malnutrition and dehydration.
As with all our nursing home abuse and medical malpractice cases, we handle dehydration lawsuits caused by a nursing home's negligence on a contingency fee basis, where we only receive a legal fee when there is a recovery for you.
Contact our nursing home neglect attorneys at (800) 926-7565 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
A Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Injury Attorney Can Help
Did your loved one suffer an injury or die from elderly dehydration or malnourishment at one of the local nursing homes? If so, the personal injury attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center LLC can help you hold the facility accountable in a court of law.
We have years of experience handling nursing home abuse and neglect cases and helping families receive financial compensation for the injuries of loved ones. Let us establish the facts in your case and present them to a court or the claims adjuster to ensure you receive adequate financial compensation.
Statistics About Dehydration in Nursing Home Residents
Studies show that those who reside in long-term care facilities are far more likely to become dehydrated than seniors who live at home. A research survey in the United States showed that seniors admitted to hospitals from a nursing home facility were five times as likely to have a high salt level, which indicates inadequate fluids and water intake.
This trend is not just limited to the US; around half of nursing home residents are estimated to suffer from inadequate nutrition.
How Dehydration Occurs in Nursing Home Elderly Residents
Several different factors could produce dehydration in nursing home residents, including:
- A nursing home resident who has dementia or other cognitive disabilities might often forget to drink water
- Understaffing or patients at local nursing homes who do not have visitors might not have anyone around to ensure they drink sufficient water to remain hydrated
- Mobility-challenged residents who cannot use the bathroom unassisted might be too afraid to drink water if they cannot control their bladder. Usually, these cognitively able residents consciously avoid drinking because they are aware of the possible result
- Nursing staff who fail to offer residents sufficient help in using the bathroom
- A nursing home resident might not have the verbal abilities to articulate themselves and ask for water when thirsty
- Nursing facilities lack sufficient staffing to provide adequate care for the residents
- In many cases, nursing facilities consciously keep nursing personnel levels low to inflate their profits.
- Staff might provide care by leaving a cup of water on the resident's table but will negligently not ensure that residents consume the water.
Many residents suffer the life-threatening consequences of dehydration caused by nursing home abuse and neglect. Should residents suffer further illness or injury due to dehydration in nursing homes, the nursing home can be held liable in a medical malpractice case.
Contact our legal team today for a free case evaluation of your personal injury lawsuit.
The Consequences of Dehydration And Malnutrition For The Elderly
Dehydration on its own can cause severe health problems. It can also be a contributing factor to other health issues. For example, a lack of proper hydration can affect the skin's quality. In some cases, it is difficult to tell if dehydration or skin breakdown was the cause of a debilitating, life-threatening pressure wound.
Severely dehydrated patients are more prone to experiencing skin breakdown. Poorly managed skin and the staff's failure to continuously reposition the immobile patient could result in pressure sores (bedsores). Dehydration can create severe medical conditions and life-threatening complications that might include:
- Kidney Failure – A lack of water could lead to dehydration required for routine kidney function and urination. Restricted water intake in older adults could lead to the kidney's functional impairment and increase toxin levels in the resident's blood flow.
- Brain Swelling – Regular water consumption is vital for proper brain functioning. When water consumption is stopped and started, the body might attempt to store excess water, leading to swelling and brain injuries.
- Urinary Tract Infections – The lack of consistent urine passing through the urinary tract can lead to infection. Dehydration can ultimately cause death when the facility fails to treat a life-threatening infection that develops into sepsis.
- Pressure Ulcers – As detailed above, lack of hydration can hasten breakdown in the skin.
- Choking– When patients do not have the proper hydration, their throat can become dry, leading to an increased risk when they cannot swallow their food properly.
- Weight Loss – Some of the resident's body weight consists of water. When residents become dehydrated, they lose weight, causing increased frailty, and making them vulnerable to fractures. Weight loss can also cause the blood pressure to drop, reducing electrolytes in the bloodstream, and increasing the potential risks to the resident's health and well-being.
Family members should be on the lookout for symptoms of the abovementioned conditions in loved ones as it could indicate a lack of proper nutrition or dehydration. Should these symptoms be present, a concerned family should open a nursing home negligence case against the facility where a loved one has endured pain and suffering to recover financial compensation.
Speak to our personal injury lawyers at Nursing Home Law Center for legal counsel regarding the medical expenses and emotional distress that a loved one has endured due to negligent care.
Dehydration Preventative Measures in Nursing Homes
Nursing homes must take the proper steps to ensure that their residents continuously drink and hydrate. A lack of sufficient water can cause a resident to suffer dehydration and make it difficult for staff members to help the nursing home patient recover. Any failure to keep a patient hydrated could be considered medical malpractice.
Healthcare providers should receive training to identify dehydration symptoms such as dry mouth, confusion, and dry skin. When dehydration progresses to the later stages, symptoms often include low blood pressure, delirium, and unconsciousness.
Dehydration does not just happen at mealtimes but throughout the day when the patient should drink water and liquid beverages to stay hydrated. Overcrowded facilities and understaffing lead to a lack of supervision and proper medical care that could compromise the resident's health.
Lawsuits and Settlements Involving Dehydration in Nursing Homes
Below are recent cases where victims received financial compensation for injuries suffered from nursing home dehydration. If you have questions related to a situation involving your loved one, contact an experienced attorney affiliated with the Nursing Home Law Center:
Jury Award for $150,000 in New York
A nursing home patient was admitted to the hospital three separate times for dehydration. Each time, the hospital was able to treat the dehydration (due to inadequate fluid intake). Still, the family argued that repeated dehydration worsened the resident's other health conditions.
The nursing home dehydration lawsuit alleged that the nursing home could not effectively treat the resident's dehydration and did not provide adequate hydration to the resident, causing dehydration and malnutrition.
Settlement for $300,000 in California
A thirty-nine-year-old patient in a persistent vegetative state lived in a nursing home during a heatwave when the air-conditioning stopped working.
The facility handled the hot air by leaving the door open to get air in the resident's room, resulting in the patient developing severe dehydration. The family argued that the facility was more interested in maximizing profits than adequately staffing the nursing home to treat the residents.
The case eventually settled for $300,000.
Settlement for $315,000 in Illinois
A patient with varying ailments, including renal insufficiency, became severely dehydrated after arriving at an Illinois nursing home. His dehydration exacerbated his kidney condition and ultimately led to his death.
Jury Award for $850,000 in Virginia
A resident died from a combination of pressure ulcers, malnutrition, and dehydration. The lawsuit claimed that the medical facility failed to adequately train and oversee the staff to provide proper care. Jurors found the facility liable for the plaintiff's damages.
Jury Verdict for $6.5 million in Ohio
A patient was admitted to an Ohio nursing facility for medical care after a stroke. While there, the resident became dehydrated, suffering from kidney damage that ultimately led to his death.
The wrongful death lawsuit claimed that the facility caused the resident's death by failing to keep him adequately hydrated. The SNF claimed his dehydration was caused by diarrhea after leaving the facility. The resident's young age likely contributed to the $6.5 million jury award.
Jury Verdict for $1.75 million in Texas
This nursing home neglect case involved the facility's failure to care for the resident that led to pressure sores and severe dehydration then caused the resident's death.
Settlement for $300,000 in South Carolina
The resident had chronic urinary tract infections that the South Carolina nursing facility failed to treat. Nursing home staff also allowed the patient to become severely dehydrated. The combination of the two conditions caused the resident's death.
Settlement for $345,000 in Missouri
The nursing home neglect lawsuit alleged that the nursing home failed to monitor the resident's condition and provide him with the appropriate nursing home care. The nursing home's neglect led to pressure ulcers and severe dehydration. Ultimately, the resident went into a diabetic coma and died.
Nursing Home Dehydration Injury FAQs
Below are some frequently asked questions about dehydration in nursing homes raised by families facing an acute injury or death episode. We recognize that many of these questions may give rise to additional questions or concerns.
Consequently, contact our legal team today for a free consultation if you have additional questions about dehydration involving your family member in nursing homes.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the time it takes to recover from dehydration depends on the patient's underlying health conditions and what caused a lack of fluids. Chronic dehydration is a severe medical problem that must be addressed by nursing home staff.
Typically, patients who are dehydrated in area nursing homes require emergency medical assistance to restore the patient's electrolytes, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and sodium to rebalance body fluid.
Re-hydrating a body that has lost significant fluid intake takes time. Chronically dehydrated nursing home residents need to consume rehydration electrolytes solutions with adequate magnesium, zinc, potassium, and sodium levels to balance the body's fluids.
Symptoms of dehydration include confusion, anger, fatigue, dry eyes, blurry vision, sunken eyes, a lack of sweat, muscle cramps, sticky or dry mouth, and headaches. A lack of sufficient fluids could affect the skin's ability to produce sweat and bring about kidney damage while the body retains water.
During severe dehydration, the patient's plasma levels will decrease as the heart works more because of a decline in cardiac output. Even the brain must reboot to avoid memory problems, fainting spells, and confusion.
According to the Mayo Clinic, dehydrated nursing home residents could suffer severe injuries and complications without immediate medical treatment. A loss of sufficient fluids due to exercise, illness, or hot weather might lead to:
- Heat injury - Causing a life-threatening heat stroke or cramps
- Cerebral edema - Swelling of the brain tissue, causing brain cells to rupture
- Seizures - Caused by a lack of electrolytes, sodium, and potassium needed to send electrical signals between cells, leading to a loss of consciousness or involuntary muscle contractions
- Hypovolemic shock, or low blood volume shock occurs when blood pressure drops and decreases the amount of oxygen supply to the body and brain.
- Renal kidney failure occurs when the kidneys cannot remove excess waste and fluids from the bloodstream.
- Coma - Caused by severe dehydration
- Wrongful death
Acute or chronic dehydration could damage body organs, including the brain, kidneys, muscles, skin, and cardiovascular system. Maintaining appropriate water levels vary between genders. Many dehydrated nursing home patients will experience lightheadedness or dizziness due to prolonged or severe dehydration as the body responds to depleted cardiac output.
Dehydration can bring about significant brain problems that alter mood, energy, mental acuity, performance, memory, and focus. Dehydration affects the heart by altering the cardiovascular system and increasing the potential risk of developing orthostatic hypotension.
Staying hydrated is not a complex problem. The nursing staff could ensure that consuming water and liquids is part of the resident's daily routine. The resident could consume water through drinking or alternative substances, including fruits and vegetables and flavored water beverages.
Medical scientists do not recommend consuming alcohol, milk, soda, or coffee as a water alternative. The nursing staff should monitor and track the resident's water intake and look for any obvious signs of dehydration. Overhydrating could also cause problems by diluting needed minerals through the kidneys.
Has Your Loved One Suffered from Dehydration While Residing at A Nursing Home? Speak To an Attorney Now
Has your family member suffered injuries or died from dehydration in a nursing facility, the elder abuse attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center have years of experience resolving complicated nursing home abuse and neglect cases.
Contact our law firm today at (800) 926-7565 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.
Working with you, our nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers will outline the legal action you need to take and whether it could be a short or lengthy lawsuit involving the negligent care of a loved one. We will keep the family informed every step of the way.
All discussions with our law firm remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.