Challenges in Hydrating Mentally Incompetent Residents
Many elderly individuals suffer from some sort of mental incompetency like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. They are forgetful, easily distracted and often times hard to keep track of, which places them at a high risk of wandering or eloping from their nursing home facility. Providing care for a mentally challenged loved one can be taxing at times for both family members and nursing staff.
Keeping Residents with Mental Deficits Hydrated Is Challenging
It is particularly difficult to keep track of whether a mentally challenged nursing home resident is staying adequately hydrated. Part of the issue is that residents are partially responsible for maintaining their own hydration. If they are thirsty, they need to ask for a beverage, or could possibly get their own if they are able. However, a mentally deficient resident may not even recognize he or she is thirsty or has not consumed beverages in a long time, leaving the responsibility of keeping track of hydration to nursing home staff.
In situations where there are too few nursing home staff members, or a high rate of turnover in the nursing home staff, the hydration needs of a mentally deficient resident could become overlooked, and he or she can easily become forgotten, which results in abuse and neglect of that dehydrated resident.
Techniques to Help Keep Track of Resident Hydration
There are many things that nursing home staffers can do to keep track of a mentally deficient resident’s hydration. Firstly, using a hydration schedule and keeping to that schedule is a relatively easy solution to the dehydration problem. Each resident who is at risk for becoming dehydrated will have a schedule planned out for them indicating all the different times during the day which he or she should drink some sort of hydrating fluid. This can include beverages scheduled for breakfast, morning medication administration time, late-morning hydration break, lunchtime, afternoon medication administration time, afternoon hydration break, dinner, and after-dinner hydration break.
Another thing that staff members can do is provide at-risk residents with portable hydration devices. This can be a simple water bottle on a lanyard that the resident can carry on his or her person, or perhaps can be mounted to his or her walking assistance device where it can easily be accessed. The portable beverage container should not be too heavy but should be checked and refilled by nursing staff multiple times per day. Now, there is no guarantee that the resident will actually drink on his or her own volition, but there is the chance that the mentally challenged resident will remember that the portable drinking device has a beverage in it.
Contact a Dehydration Attorney
If you or someone you love in the nursing home has a mental condition that makes them forgetful, and you are concerned that he or she is suffering from dehydration at the hands of nursing home staff, please contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney who specializes in dehydration cases. Contact the experienced nursing home abuse attorneys at The Rooth Law Firm today either online or by phone at (847) 869-9100.