Nursing home injuries: Malnutrition and dehydration

Elderly nursing home residents rely on the care and attention of the staff to prevent injuries and devastating conditions. Unfortunately, nursing home negligence or outright abuse can result in physical and emotional harm.

A nursing home resident can struggle with cognitive or physical issues that might prevent them from eating or drinking with regularity. Additionally, some medications – or combinations of medications – might act as diuretics making it difficult for the body to retain fluids. If the nursing home staff doesn’t closely monitor these individuals, they might lack the nutrition they need to remain healthy and avoid malnutrition and dehydration.

What is malnutrition?

A diet can be inadequate based on either the quality of the food or the quantity. If the resident is not receiving the right amounts of the right foods, he or she can suffer malnutrition. While every case is unique, there are some common symptoms for individuals who suffer from malnutrition, including:

  • Weight loss
  • Increased frailty
  • Skin damage
  • Loss of balance
  • Falls

What is dehydration?

Put simply, when fluid loss is greater than fluid intake, dehydration can occur. Elderly nursing home residents might simply not feel thirsty based on their medications or not have access to liquids based on problems in mobility. While the symptoms are myriad, common signs of dehydration can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Skin that is dry to the touch
  • Cognitive diminishment including confusion and muddled thinking
  • Balance issues including dizziness and sluggish movement

Whether the nursing home staff is simply inattentive, or they are intentionally abusive, elderly residents can suffer worsening conditions if they are not provided the care they need. Without the proper foods and liquids, the elderly are at risk for illness and injury.

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