One of the most basic tenants of life is being properly hydrated. This is especially true for residents in nursing homes. These residents in nursing homes rely on staff to help care for them. This includes making sure they are properly hydrated. The failure to be properly hydrated can be dangerous. While dehydration can be a minor inconvenience when we were younger by giving us cramps or headaches, for older and more vulnerable individuals like residents of nursing homes dehydration can be life-threatening. Our Oregon dehydration lawyers know how dangerous and deadly improper hydration can be due to the careless, reckless, and negligent care of nursing home staff.
Residents of nursing homes who are dehydrated may offer from the following complications:
Kidney function problems – hydration and kidney health go hand-in-hand. The more dehydrated a person is or the longer that a person is dehydrated could translate directly into the more damage an individual’s kidney has or the longer it is damaged for. Lack of proper hydration to the kidney can result in a range of other problems, including urinary tract infections (UTIs), kidney stones, kidney failure, and scarring of the kidneys. Kidney damage to a nursing home resident, especially one who is recovering from other ailments, could result in the death of a resident.
Hypovolemic shock – Hypovolemic shock is a drop in blood pressure due to a lack of fluid perfusion. This means that there is a low blood volume in the body which will drop blood pressure. When the blood pressure gets too low, the body will ease to function properly. This is extremely dangerous because it means there is a decreased amount of oxygen throughout the body and the heart, as well as other organs, could shut down at any time. Hypovolemic shock is usually easily treated by pushing fluids through IVs, such as simple IV fluid.
Heart Complications – Whether a resident’s blood pressure is too low from hypovolemic conditions and almost shock, a dehydrated resident’s heart will be working in overtime. This is because the heart needs to beat harder and faster to deliver oxygen when there is a lack of oxygen perfusion. This puts a lot of stress on the heart which could fail and burn out, known as heart failure.
Seizures – Dehydration results in an increase of sodium concentration in the body because there is less fluids to dilute it. The increased sodium concentration causes an imbalance with potassium, which both sodium and potassium are electrolytes. An imbalance in electrolytes is very dangerous because it can affect who signals are sent between cells, including cells in the brain. This could result in miscommunications, disfunction, and for a lack of a clear word “static” inside the brain. This can result in seizures which are devastating and dangerous to a resident, especially a nursing home resident who is recovering from serious injury.
Liability in Oregon Nursing Home Dehydration Cases
Dehydration should simply not occur in Oregon nursing homes if a patient is properly cared for by the staff and healthcare providers. This is because dehydration can be easily prevented with a simple cup of water. Some residents who may be too ill may also be treated for dehydration with an IV. It is rare that residents cannot be properly hydrated with support of staff or healthcare providers.
Nursing home residents sometimes need nursing home staff to ensure that they are properly hydrated. This is particularly true of patients who suffer from dementia or other cognitive conditions which may make them confused and not remember or recognize they are thirsty. This is why nursing homes need to monitor the fluid intake in residents to ensure that residents are receiving enough proper hydration. Staff should also attempt to monitor fluid output to properly gauge whether a resident’s hydration needs are being met.
When nursing home staff fail to properly monitor and ensure a resident’s hydration, it could be Oregon nursing home malpractice. These healthcare providers are under a duty to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances in treating residents. Encouraging residents to drink water, monitoring fluid intake and outtake, and even recognizing when an IV bag is necessary to avoid dehydration are all rudimentary functions of nursing home care. The failure to satisfy these basic requirements could be Oregon nursing home malpractice.
Bend/Portland, Oregon Dehydration Lawyers
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect contact the Oregon Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form. We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.
We handle cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, and Hillsboro.
We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take Nursing Home Abuse cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.
Please act quickly, there is a limited time (Statute of Limitations) in which you can bring a claim under the law.