California nursing home regulators have fined El Dorado Care Center $21,000 for violations that led to the death of 86-year-old resident Donald Forseth. In 2006, Mr. Forseth died within four months of his admission to this nursing home from complications related to dehydration.
A complaint was filed against El Dorado Care Center by Foundation Aiding the Elderly, a patient advocacy group shortly after Mr. Forseth’s death. Almost two years after the report of nursing home neglect was made, the state Department of Health Services found that the facility failed to monitor the man’s fluid intake, which led to severe dehydration, kidney failure and death. It also faulted the center for staffing deficiencies and other problems.
According to Carole Herman, president of Foundation Aiding the Elderly, “It took them almost two years to adjudicate this case,” Herman said. “That is ridiculous and unacceptable. The state is not doing its mandated monitoring of nursing homes in a timely manner, which causes many more abuses to occur.”
During the course of the state investigation Herman said that Forseth’s widow, Patricia, received a settlement from the civil case against El Dorado Care Center in the.
Dehydration is a common problem amongst elderly in nursing homes. Elderly are susceptible to dehydration for several reasons including:
- Failure to detect thirst
- Inability to control body temperature
- Embarrassment over using the toilet
- Medications that act as diuretics
It is the responsibility of the nursing home to ensure that residents remain properly hydrated. Most situations involving dehydration are preventable with simple monitoring of fluid intake. If the facility fails to monitor fluid intake and dehydration ensues, they are responsible for nursing home neglect.