Nursing Home Dehydration Risks Highlighted By New Study
The findings of a recent study highlight the increased risks elderly individuals face from dehydration in nursing homes compared to those living at home, finding that nursing home residents may be 10 times more likely to be dehydrated when admitted to a hospital. This may increase the risk of severe injury or wrongful death.
To evaluate the risk of nursing home dehydration, researchers looked at data on 21,610 patients over the age of 65 who were admitted to hospitals between January 2, 2011 and December 31, 2013, finding that about 90% of cases involving elderly dehydration were linked to nursing home living situations.
Has a Loved One Suffered a Nursing Home Dehydration Injury?
The study was published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine on January 15 evaluating data from the Barnet and Chase Farm National Health Service Trust in London.
Nursing home dehydration injury can occur when facilities fail to provide sufficient food and fluid or monitor the intake of residents. This can substantially increase the risk of several serious and potentially life-threatening injuries, including:
Researchers indicate that 12% of elderly patients who were admitted to hospitals from nursing homes suffered from hypernatraemia, which is an elevated level of sodium in the blood specifically caused by a lack of free water in the body, also known as dehydration. That compares to just 1.3% of elderly residents who were admitted to the hospital after living in the community either on their own or with family.
The findings also indicated that when compared with own-home residents, nursing home residents faced about a two-fold higher risk of in-hospital deaths, many of which may have been avoided without the dehydration complications.
The nursing home lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. investigate potential claims for injuries caused by dehydration or malnutrition throughout the United States. It is important for family members to closely watch for and promptly recognize early symptoms of dehydration when loved ones are in a nursing home, which may include:
- Sudden Weight Loss
- Confusion and Disorientation
- Sores in the Mouth
- Cracks around the Lips
- Dry Skin
- Sunken Eyes
These dehydration problems are often linked to failure of staff to keep adequate records, assess a resident’s dietary needs, or understand the nutritional needs of residents, potentially leading to severe and life-threatening nursing home injuries.