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Nursing Home Dehydration

When you place your elderly parent or loved one into a nursing home, it probably never crosses your mind that your parent or loved one could face abuse or mistreatment. You trust, however blindly, the nursing home or assisted living facility to properly care for the elderly. However, this is not always the case.

Sometimes these trusted facilities and nursing homes end up harming your loved one. In Seattle, Kirkland, Olympia, Bellingham, and across Washington State there are nursing homes and assisted living facilities that simply do not care enough for the elderly patients they have been tasked with caring for. This is a sad but true reality faced by many elderly who are confined to nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Dehydration of an elderly person can be especially devastating given that over 60% of our body is comprised of water. Our most vital organs, our heart and our brain, are more than 70% water.

Without water, the brain and body will die. The elderly can become dehydrated at a faster rate than younger people and thus, there need to be hydrated is even greater. Since the elderly who are in nursing homes or assisted living facilities may not be terribly mobile, possibly even confined to a bed or wheelchair, they are normally more dependent on the staff to administer the proper amount of fluids they need to remain healthy.

Signs of Dehydration at Nursing Home

There are some warning signs that you need to pay attention to in order to determine if your loved one or elderly parent is suffering dehydration. The main ways someone can become dangerously dehydrated are:

  • Not receiving enough fluid
  • Exercising
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

In addition, if an elderly person is suffering from a serious medical condition, such as diabetes, they are also capable of becoming very dehydrated. How do you know if your loved one or elderly parent is suffering from dehydration?

Some common signs are if they complain of being very thirsty when you visit them, complain of a dry or cotton mouth, urine that is a very dark yellow or not going to the bathroom at all. Headaches and cramping are also strong indicators of dehydration. If the elderly becomes too dehydrated, then it can potentially kill the elderly. Kidney failure is often one of the consequences of not getting enough fluids, along with brain damage. Dehydration can be all the more devastating to an elderly person who is already in a fragile state of health with a host of problems and pre-existing conditions that often go along with old age.

Washington State Nursing Home Dehydration Laws

Having a loved one who is a nursing home suffer from dehydration can be an unsettling experience. There are laws that protect the elderly of course. You have the right to bring a claim against the nursing home and its employees for their negligence. In order to prevail on a nursing home claim, you have to prove your case by a preponderance of the evidence. What does this mean legally? It just means that you have to prove that it is more likely true than not true that the nursing home caused your elderly loved one’s injuries.

The Jackman Law Firm can help you prove this. Washington State law has defined negligence in a very specific way that must be proven in order to win a claim. In order to win a negligence case, you must establish four elements.

First, there was a duty the nursing home had not to leave your elderly loved one in a dehydrated state. Second, the nursing home breached that duty by their actions. Third, the injuries your elderly loved one suffered were 100% connected to the breach the nursing home committed when your elderly loved one was injured.

These elements may or may not be easy to prove, depending on the facts of your elderly loved one’s case. In many cases the nursing home will attempt to argue that your elderly loved one was not dehydrated, or if they were, that the dehydration was because of problems beyond the nursing home’s control or the control of the assisted living facility. Having an expert, such as a physician, who can make opinions about why and how dehydration occurred can be very helpful in proving your case.

Once it is clear that the breached occurred, you then need to be able to explain how the nursing home was negligent. In most cases, the cause of action, or the kind of lawsuit that is brought, is called a negligent supervision claim or a negligent hiring claim. In a negligent supervision claim, you are alleging that the management of the nursing home failed to properly monitor their employees in terms of them being accountable and on top of properly hydrating your loved one.

Alternatively, a negligent hiring case is one where you allege the nursing home failed to hire the right staff, and the poor hire is what led to your loved one’s dehydration. As has already been mentioned, a common problem in nursing homes is that they cut corners and fail to hire the right people as well as enough people. It is common to bring a claim against the nursing home that alleges they simply were negligent in hiring enough people to properly hydrate and nourish your loved one.

How The Jackman Law Firm can Help

After finding out that a loved one has suffered from dehydration because of a nursing home’s negligence or an assisted living facility’s negligence, then you have the right to bring a claim against them. The Jackman Law Firm has a long history of helping injured and dehydrated elderly people recover damages for their injuries. We can help you recover the following:

  • Money for medical bills
  • Money for pain and suffering
  • Money for out of pocket expenses

The Jackman Law Firm has had a tremendous track record of successfully recovering those damages. In addition, if the nursing home or assisted living facility denies full liability for the reasons for dehydration, the Jackman Law Firm has the resources and the know-how to show that they were in fact negligent. We can subpoena documents, interview witnesses, and take what are called depositions, which are under-oath meetings, with key personnel and staff of the nursing home or assisted living facility, all intended to prove your case.

If you have questions or concerns, feel free to call us for a free consultation to discuss your case.

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