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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

Understanding Texas Law: Is Dehydration Nursing Home Abuse in Texas?

The safety, health, and dignity of older people who reside in nursing homes must be ensured to ensure their well-being. Sadly, elderly abuse in nursing homes is a major concern nationwide, which is why the prevention and identification of dehydration is one area that needs particular attention.


Dehydration is a common problem among the elderly. This is because of the body's reduced ability to store water that, when coupled with health issues such as Alzheimer's, can wreak havoc on the quality of an older person's life.


Knowing whether dehydration can be categorized as nursing home abuse in the state of Texas is crucial, especially for those who are concerned about the mistreatment of their loved ones. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can answer questions like, "How do you prove elder abuse in Texas?" The following article will thoroughly examine the subject and clarify the legal issues related to dehydration as nursing home abuse in Texas.


What Is Dehydration?

What Is Dehydration?


Dehydration is the condition that results when the body takes in fewer fluids than it loses, causing an imbalance of vital electrolytes and fluids. Dehydration can have serious effects on elderly people, such as organ failure, cognitive decline, and even death.


Determining instances of possible nursing home abuse depends on the ability to recognize the telltale signs and symptoms of dehydration and the possible causes.


What Causes Dehydration in Nursing Homes?


The truth is that dehydration is less likely in older people who live at home with their families than in those who reside in a nursing home.


Unfortunately, understaffing in such facilities and the lack of proper supervision are two of the leading causes of dehydration. This is often done to maximize profits.


When employees have to take care of multiple patients at once, it becomes impossible for them to provide personalized attention and care. It also makes detecting dehydration more challenging.


Furthermore, many staff members aren't properly trained or supervised, which means that they may not have the support they need to be able to offer the best possible care to nursing home residents.


The lack of staff and supervisors aren't the only cause of nursing home dehydration. Here are a few other reasons why it occurs:

  • Elderly people have a reduced ability to detect thirst, and their bodies cannot hold onto as much water, which leads to dehydration.

  • Many struggle with mobility, which makes it much harder for them to get a drink on their own.

  • Certain medications may have a diuretic effect.

  • Some illnesses may make nursing home patients less likely to want to drink fluids, while others cause dehydration through diarrhea or vomiting.

  • Dementia often causes many elderly residents to forget to drink water.

  • Those with bladder control issues may be afraid to up their fluid intake for fear of not making it to the restroom in time.

  • The resident cannot verbally express their need for water.

What Are the Consequences of Nursing Home Dehydration?


Unfortunately, dehydration can have serious, life-threatening consequences for those who live in nursing homes. Here are some of the most common effects of such nursing home neglect:


Mild Effects


Some of the often-overlooked consequences of dehydration in nursing homes is a reduction in the visual appearance of the skin. Because the skin requires a great deal of moisture to ensure that it remains in good condition, deteriorating skin quality may be one of the first symptoms of elderly dehydration.


Nausea and headaches are other common mild symptoms of dehydration in nursing homes. Tiredness and a reduction in the frequency of urination may also be signs.


Serious Effects


If the patient has serious skin issues, this may be a symptom of more severe dehydration, which could indicate nursing home negligence. Here are more symptoms that a nursing home resident is suffering serious consequences as a result of prolonged dehydration:


Organ Failure


Lower fluid levels could lead to an increase in blood toxicity levels, causing elderly patients to experience organ failure. The kidneys are often the first to be affected, as they become functionally impaired.


Infections


Urinary tract infections are also common in nursing homes. Dehydration reduces the quantity of fluids that pass through the kidneys and bladder, resulting in infections.


Swelling of the Brain


The brain requires a significant amount of water each day to function properly, and when there isn't enough water,


Weight Loss


Dehydration also causes older people to lose weight, which increases their fragility and their risk of fractures. Losing weight can also lead to low blood pressure, which lowers the amount of electrolytes in the blood and raises the dangers to the person's overall well-being.


Sadly, if dehydration is left untreated, it will eventually lead to death, as fluids are essential for normal bodily function. This is why family members who suspect that their loved ones are being neglected must take action as quickly as possible to prevent the worst-case scenario.


What Does the Law Say About Dehydration in Nursing Homes?

What Does the Law Say About Dehydration in Nursing Homes?


According to the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, if a nursing home resident does not receive an adequate fluid intake and this is allowed to persist and eventually lead to complications, it is considered nursing home abuse.


This act is enforceable throughout the country, not just in Texas, and outlines the quality of care that nursing home facilities are expected to provide.


Dehydration is serious and should not be taken lightly, as it can have dire consequences for the elderly population, so families are encouraged to keep a close eye on their loved ones and ensure that they are receiving the standard of care they are rightfully due.


Next Steps


Nursing home facilities are there to ensure that patients receive the medical care they require. When this doesn't happen, family members have a responsibility to hold these nursing homes liable. Our Houston nursing home neglect attorneys can help with that process.


Those whose loved ones are victims of nursing home dehydration should contact a trusted legal representative to ensure that they hold the responsible party liable for the suffering of their family member.

Whether the neglect is detected at the early stages or not, it's important for families to act fast to ensure that the issue is dealt with before it's too late.


At a free consultation with Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, they can learn more about the validity of their case and their chances of securing restitution, with the full assurance that they are working with a law firm that's ready to go to war for them!

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