Chicago, IL- There are many nursing homes in the Chicago-area that provide superior care for elderly or disabled residents, but not all facilities do. Some facilities, for whatever reason, are unable to meet each resident’s basic needs, even their need for food and water, leaving an already vulnerable population even more vulnerable and in danger of becoming dehydrated or suffering a medical event.

In fact, a study from earlier this year found that residents of nursing homes are actually prone to dehydration. The study was conducted in the U.K. by the Royal Society of Medicine and examined data on the hospital admissions of 21,000 people aged 65 or older and looked for high sodium levels, a common indicator of dehydration.

After examining looking at first-time admissions between 2011 and 2013, researchers found that residents of nursing homes were 5 times more likely to be dehydrated than seniors who lived on their own or in assisted-living situations, according to Fox News. What’s more, seniors who were severely dehydrated, no matter what their living situation, were 5 times more likely to die in the hospital.

One of the authors of the study, Dr. Martin McKee told Reuters Health, “We believe that when a hospital finds that more than a few people are admitted with a high sodium from an individual (nursing) home it should raise a warning flag.”

While the researchers could not say why nursing home residents are prone to dehydration, Dr. McKee suggested that many nursing home residents forget to drink and their caregivers are not consistently ensuring their elderly residents get enough fluids. In some cases, nursing home residents who need assistance to move may avoid drinking too many fluids because they worry they worry they won’t be able to make it to the bathroom in time. Or, they worry that staff at a facility won’t attend to their incontinent or toileting needs. Even worse, some nursing home staff may actually discourage a resident from drinking so they won’t urinate in their beds or incontinent garments.

That should never happen since dehydration, in extreme cases, can lead to a resident’s untimely death or make it much more difficult to recover from an illness or medical event. For those reasons, a family should be able to recognize the signs of dehydration.

The Mayo Clinic says the signs of severe dehydration include:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Irritability and confusion in adults
  • Dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes
  • Infrequent or no urination — any urine that is produced will be darker than normal
  • Sunken eyes
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing

No elderly person should have their needs ignored or denied for the sake of another person’s convenience. Families pay a great deal of money to place their loved one in a nursing home, so they naturally expect a facility to attend to their loved one’s needs. If your loved one is in a nursing home and they are being neglected or abuse, USAttorneys urges you to contact a nursing home abuse lawyer near you in Chicago to discuss your case. We can connect you with an elder law attorney who will evaluate your case and determine if your loved one deserves compensation for their neglect or abuse.