Nursing Home Dehydration Attorney in New York City
Did Dehydration Cause Injury in a Nursing Home?

Before you chose a nursing home, you probably looked closely at the care, services, and activities it offers. But did you check for a dehydration plan? Silly as it may seem, dehydration is a serious problem among the elderly, especially those in long-term residential care. A study of 40 nursing home patients found that only 1 drank enough fluids in a day. Dehydration can range from mild to severe, and in this instance, 25 of 40 study members presented health issues that are often related to dehydration.

Small sample size notwithstanding, the study puts numbers to a problem healthcare providers have known about for years. Though it’s true that getting proper hydration and nutrition is harder for seniors as a whole, a study of elderly hospital patients in the UK found that those who came from nursing homes were more likely to be dehydrated—a condition characterized by high blood sodium—than those who lived on their own. Why do seniors in residential care have so much trouble drinking enough fluids? And, what can you do if you suspect dehydration has caused declines in your loved one’s health?

Understanding Nursing Home Dehydration

Dehydration may be caused by excessive loss or insufficient intake of fluids, and symptoms of aging often introduce hardships at both points. Medication side-effects, decreased ability to feel thirst, and cognitive or physical disabilities may contribute to dehydration. Though nursing home care should be able to alleviate these concerns, the most vulnerable populations in residential care show corresponding characteristics. They are:

  • Dysphagic (have difficulty swallowing)
  • Cognitively or functionally impaired
  • Unable to effectively communicate with care staff due to aphasia or language gaps
  • Those with no friends/family to help them during meals

Worse, though caregivers for the elderly have long known that this problem persists, many nursing home residents still suffer from both dehydration and malnutrition today. 14,000 nursing home patients died between 1999 and 2002 due to these easy-to-solve problems. If you or a loved one is suffering due to insufficient care, we can help you fight back and demand compensation before things get worse.

Our nursing home abuse attorneys are here to help. Contact us online or call (646) 681-7055 today.

The Dangers of Dehydration

Most of us have dealt with moderate dehydration at some point in our lives. In its early stages, the condition can cause:

  • Lasting feelings of thirst
  • Dry or pale skin
  • Dry mouth
  • Canker sores
  • Infrequent need to urinate

At this stage, drinking plenty of fluids will cause symptoms to subside. However, in more serious cases of dehydration, people may experience:

  • Irritability
  • Low blood pressure
  • Fast breathing
  • Confusion, disorientation, delirium, and hallucinations
  • Inability to act in logical or expected ways

Severe dehydration can and should result in a hospital trip for treatment.

Hypernatremia and Hyperkalemia

Dehydration isn’t just about your cells not having enough water. A lack of liquid also causes electrolyte imbalances that can be fatal if untreated.

Hypernatremia refers to high blood sodium caused by dehydration. The condition may develop quickly or over time, and the earlier it’s caught, the less likely it is to cause damage. Treatment includes rehydration, either by drinking water or, in serious cases, use of an IV drip. Symptoms to look out for include:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Lack of energy, tiredness
  • Confusion
  • Muscle twitches or spasms
  • Seizures or coma

Unless a patient loses a large amount of fluid in a short period, the condition can be treated before the most severe and harmful symptoms begin to present.

Another condition caused by dehydration is hyperkalemia, or high potassium levels. Excessive amounts of this mineral can be toxic. Signs of hyperkalemia include:

  • Muscular weakness
  • Flaccid paralysis (floppy or limp limbs, cramps or loss of sensation in palms and soles of feet, loss of bladder control, trouble breathing)
  • Intestinal muscle dysfunction (causes bloating and pain, vomiting, and loss of appetite)
  • Chest pains and irregular heartbeat

Hyperkalemia should be addressed right away. In serious cases, emergency room doctors may need to stabilize a patient’s heart before filtering potassium out of the blood. If a patient’s potassium levels haven’t reached critical levels, removing potassium from the blood through dialysis or imbibing fluids to induce excretion may be the only necessary treatment.

Arguments of Fault in Nursing Home Dehydration

Some nursing home residents may intentionally fail to hydrate to avoid the embarrassment of incontinence, or because they need help using the restroom and often do not receive it in time. Other times, caregivers may refuse them water near bedtime for the same reason. Both of these instances demonstrate improper care on behalf of the facility: Patients deserve to retain their dignity regardless of their condition. Patients’ attempts to avoid the consequences of poor care does not absolve the facility of responsibility for dehydration or any other resulting health complications. It actually shows that residents are experiencing emotional damage along with the physical harms of dehydration and other conditions brought on by neglect.

Sometimes symptoms caused by dehydration are difficult to link directly to a lack of water, as they may be illnesses of their own. Medical experts can help build a strong case, but nursing homes that want to protect themselves will fight back by arguing that aging individuals, especially those who need regular care, get sick regardless of their fluid intake. Because of this, dehydration cases are not always the easiest to fight—especially if you don’t have an experienced team on your side.

Do You Need Advice on Issues of Nursing Home Abuse?

If you or a loved one has experienced medical complications that you suspect are linked to dehydration, you should reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible. Medical cases like these often require high levels of documentation and evidence, and the sooner you begin gathering that information, the sooner we can help you build a case. Facilities that accidentally or intentionally cause patients’ health to decline must be held accountable for what they have done.

Call (646) 681-7055 today to schedule a free case evaluation. We promise to listen to all of your concerns, and will never rush you to make a decision.

Hear From Our Clients

“I would recommend Mr. Frederick to anyone who wants a professional attorney with a terrific work ethic and family values.” I have used Howard Frederick as a personal injury lawyer for myself and my Children. He was honest from the beginning asking all the pertinent...
Gina
“Howard will fight for what is right!” I casually knew Howard and his family as our sons competed against each other, wrestling for rival High Schools. I started out knowing the personal side of the family. How nice they were, supportive, cheering for my kid...
Suzanne
“Having been a trial attorney myself for 35+ years and Howard is one of the best trial lawyers I have seen.” When I was Managing Partner at Worby Groner Edelman, LLP, Howard was our senior trial attorney and I had the pleasure of watching him...
Bill
“I highly recommend Howard Frederick. He never gave up on me and won’t give up on you either!” I had two other lawyers before I met Howard, and both those lawyers kept trying to get me to settle my case for very little money. When...
Marshall
“Howard understood my injury so well and was able to get me the settlement that I really deserved.” When I called Howard I told him about my accident and the injury I received. Howard knew all about my injury and gave me more information about...
Alex
“They’re always there whenever I have questions and keep me posted on updates.” So far its been perfect. They’re always there whenever I have questions and keep me posted on updates.
Jeffrey C.
“The best lawyer I know!” I have nothing to say about him but good stuff cause he is the best lawyer I know! I’m very satisfied with him and he won my case and his one of the best lawyers I know.
Robert F.
“From the beginning to the end of my legal case, Mr. Frederick did a great job!” From the beginning to the end of my legal case, Mr. Frederick did a great job! I highly recommend him and his staff, and I have no doubt that...
Hector G.
“I knew as soon as I retained Mr. Frederick that he was an excellent lawyer, but I had no idea how gifted he was until he took my case to trial.” I knew as soon as I retained Mr. Frederick that he was an excellent...
Sarah
“I pity anyone that has to go against Lora in the courtroom. She’s a phenomenal attorney.” Lora is an excellent attorney. She came to court very prepared, with all sorts of diagrams and oversized photos. She articulated her points well and knew just how to...
Ruby
“Lora is an outstanding trial attorney. I received 17.5 times more than the insurance company originally offered.” Lora is an outstanding trial attorney. I had a slip and fall case, which is difficult to trial, not for Lora. She brought in a high-resolution monitor and...
Ivan
“Honest and took this case, my case, with heart and treated me, his client, with respect.” He believes in the work he has taken and loves the field. When working with David, he was honest and took this case, my case, with heart and treated...
Former Client
“This is absolutely one of the greatest law firms around!” Mr Schatz is an awesome attorney that can deliver. He handled my case so brilliantly. The staff members are outstanding. He and the entire staff treated me with great respect and dignity and like a...
Andries
“Truly went above and beyond in handling my personal injury claim. I am beyond grateful I am very fortunate to fall into the care of Silbowitz, Garafola, Silbowitz, Schatz & Fedrick LLP” The group at Silbowitz, Garafola, Silbowitz, Schatz & Fredrick LLP truly went above...
Karlene
“Thanks for everything!” Thanks for everything! I will refer you to others if needed.
Nancy H.
“I had a favorable experience with this group. I would definitely recommend them!” I had a favorable experience with this group. They kept me informed and on top of any information they had. I felt that I could always call if I had a concern...
Julie M.
“They’re excellent at what they do and I definitely recommend them!!” Friendly and helpful staff, very professional, they’re excellent at what they do and I definitely recommend them!!
Andrea W.
“I definitely recommend NYlawyer” Absolutely a great law firm very good lawyers and good co-workers. I definitely recommend NYlawyer
Antonio M.
“Howard Schatz did a phenomenal job with my personal injury claim.” Howard Schatz did a phenomenal job with my personal injury claim. I was thrilled with the outcome and would recommend him 100%.
Former Client
“They were extremely accommodating and I was quite pleased with my settlement” I had an Incredible experience with Mr. Schatz and the staff. They were extremely accommodating and I was quite pleased with my settlement and would recommend this office to handle and legal matter.
Barbara N.

Why Choose Us?

Experience You Can Trust

Hiring a personal injury lawyer can be a tough decision and, undoubtedly, one that will have a considerable impact on the outcome of your case. When you work with our firm, you will have our dedication and experience on your side.

Schedule Your

Free Case

Review

25 West 43rd Street, Suite 711

New York, NY 10036

 

350 Willis Avenue

Mineola, NY 11501

By Appointment Only