Published on October 26, 2023

How Can Dehydration Occur in Arizona Nursing Homes?

Dehydration in Arizona nursing homes is an extremely high stakes issue involving the life and death of the patients involved. It is imperative for residents and their families to be well-informed about the issue, understand their legal rights, and take action to ensure their loved ones receive the proper care they deserve. Dehydration of a resident should never occur in an Arizona nursing home. A Knapp & Roberts Phoenix nursing home dehydration attorney can help review your case and evaluate your right to potential compensation.

Factors Contributing to Nursing Home Dehydration

Understaffing 

One of the primary factors contributing to dehydration in nursing homes is understaffing. Overworked and understaffed facilities often struggle to provide residents with the attention and care required for proper hydration. 

Medication-Related Dehydration

Many residents in nursing homes are on medication. Some of these medications can have diuretic effects, potentially leading to increased fluid loss and dehydration.

Lack of Proper Hydration Monitoring

Adequate monitoring of residents’ hydration is essential. Without proper oversight, staff may overlook signs of dehydration, and residents may not receive the fluids they need.

It’s important to note that the inability of the nursing facility resident to tell anyone that they are thirsty and need to take in fluids can make this a much more difficult issue to overcome. For elderly residents who are unable to communicate with caregivers due to language barriers or loss of speech, proper hydration is even more of an issue. 

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of dehydration is crucial for both nursing home staff and families of residents:

Physical Symptoms of Early Dehydration 

Dehydration needs to be treated as soon as possible before it develops into other conditions. Early dehydration signs to watch for in a nursing home resident are:

– Nagging thirst

– Dry, pale skin

– Sporadic urination

– Dry mouth; and

– Canker sores

Cognitive and Behavioral Symptoms of Late Stage Dehydration

In addition to physical signs, dehydration can cause cognitive and behavioral issues in residents. Later stage dehydration can present with the following signs:

– Disorientation

– Irritability

– Hallucination

– Delirium

– Inability to think or act straight

Preventing Dehydration in Nursing Homes

In a recent study published in the National Library of Medicine, nearly 50% of nursing home residents were suggested to experience some level of dehydration. Here are some specific ways that nursing home staff, and even loved ones, can detect or prevent dehydration.

Hydration Plans

Nursing homes should create individualized hydration plans for each resident, taking into account their specific needs, medical conditions, and dietary restrictions. These plans should outline the frequency and types of fluids needed.

Staff Training

Ensuring that staff members are adequately trained to recognize signs of dehydration and to administer proper hydration is crucial. Staff should also be educated on the importance of documenting fluid intake accurately. It’s important to note that the understaffing of nursing facilities is a problem that could benefit from stricter laws and penalties for understaffing.

Monitoring and Documentation

Regularly monitoring residents’ hydration levels and documenting their fluid intake is key to preventing dehydration. This documentation provides a clear record of residents’ hydration status and helps in identifying potential issues early.

Family and Resident Involvement

Encouraging family and resident involvement in the hydration planning process is vital. Residents and their families should have a voice in their care plans and be proactive in expressing their preferences and needs.


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