Dehydration and Malnutrition

Some studies suggest that one-third of the approximate two million nursing home residents in the U.S. suffer from dehydration or malnutrition, a problem that has been described by some researchers as a silent epidemic.

Causes of dehydration or malnutrition in the nursing home setting are many, but frequently include:

  • Fluid losses due to illness such as diarrhea, flu, or infections.
  • The side effects of certain medications.
  • The simple failure of the resident to be given adequate fluids or food.
  • An age-related decrease in thirst or hunger sensation.

Dehydration or malnutrition can be a particular problem with the memory-impaired, such as those suffering from Alzheimer's disease or dementia.  If there is a change in the health of the resident, the facility must consider how that change might impact the resident's nutritional status, and amend the care plan accordingly.

In California, nursing homes have a duty to provide an individual plan of care for every resident, which includes a risk assessment for dehydration and malnutrition.  The plan must provide for sufficient nourishment to maintain good health, and must be updated on a regular basis.  The failure maintain adequate nutrition, it is well know, can lead to a variety of serious medical conditions, including death, and can expose a nursing home to legal liability.

Walton Law Firm has successfully prosecuted nursing homes and other care facilities in cases involving dehydration and malnutrition. If you have questions about dehydration or malnutrition please submit your confidential question online, or call Walton Law Firm for a free and private consultation. We can be reached toll free at (866) 607-1325 or locally at (760) 607-1325.

Southern California Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog - Dehydration