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Preventing dehydration makes the elderly healthier

When your loved one is in a nursing home or hospital, it's important that he or she is drinking enough fluids. If he or she is not, then the nurses or doctors there should be willing to use an IV to make sure that your loved one does not become dehydrated.

Dehydration is a serious problem for patients, because it can make them weak and threaten their health in general. Severe dehydration can lead to bedsores, weakness, confusion, urinary tract infections and other health concerns.

Even those who drink a lot of water can be at risk of dehydration depending on the medications given. Medications that are diuretics make it harder for patients to hold water, so they must drink more than usual. Some medications also make people less thirsty. Combined with the fact that the elderly become less aware of thirst as they age, they're at a higher risk of becoming dehydrated.

Each person's normal level of hydration varies. Some people do well with the average eight glasses a day, while others require more or less water based on weight and other medical concerns. You can get water from foods, drinking water directly and other possible sources.

At a nursing home or hospital, tracking hydration is key. Knowing how much water a patient is drinking or receiving via IV is the first step. Some patients also have urine output monitored, so the medical team knows that the individual is using the restroom and producing enough urine.

Without the right protocols, your loved one could be in danger in a nursing home. If you feel neglect has led to injuries, you could have a case against the facility.

Source: A Place for Mom, "Elderly Dehydration: Prevention & Treatment," accessed Sep. 01, 2017

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