Decubitus Ulcers and Dehydration

Are decubitus ulcers and dehydration inextricably linked? The answer is yes. H20 is the most plentiful component of the human body. Scientists estimate that the human body is 60% water. Water is found in every human cell, including (notably for decubitus ulcer prevention) skin cells. Without water, the human body suffers from dehydration. If organs, like the skin, are dehydrated, they begin to malfunction.

Dehydration and Decubitus Ulcers in Nursing Homes and Hospitals

Most people who suffer from decubitus ulcers are elderly nursing home and hospital patients. These elderly patients are more at risk for decubitus ulcers because they have less fluid mass than younger people. As a result, elderly nursing home/hospital patients suffer from dehydration much faster than regular adults. This is why it is so critical that hospitals, nursing homes and ALF’s ensure that their patients are properly hydrated to prevent decubitus ulcers.

Signs of Dehydration; Decubitus Ulcers

Mild to moderate dehydration can be remedied by immediate fluid intake. If a nursing home or hospital resident is not able to drink liquid, an IV can be used to infuse fluid in the elderly patient. If proper hydration is not promptly given, the elderly resident will likely develop pressure sores or decubitus ulcers. It is the nursing home or hospital staff’s job to monitor the risk factors for dehydration; namely, excess urine output, inability to consume liquids, loss of appetite and or thirst, or dry lips/skin. Diabetes and kidney diseases can add to the risk factors of dehydration in nursing home / hospital patients. Hospitals and nursing homes are fully aware of these dehydration risks and are required to monitor their patients for dehydration. This is the law that nursing homes and hospitals must follow to avoid patient neglect.

Nursing Home and Hospital Dehydration; Decubitus Ulcer Statistics1

It is estimated that 12-22% of nursing home residents are dehydrated while in the long term care facility.

Hospital / Nursing Home Decubitus Ulcer Dehydration

Dehydration in nursing homes and hospitals can lead to decubitus ulcers

Millions of hospital admissions each year in the U.S. stem from elderly dehydration. Of these hospital visits due to dehydration, 52% of the patients were admitted from a nursing home. Dehydration has a hospital mortality rate of 31%. Dehydrated nursing home residents are at a much higher risk for suffering pressures sores, falls, infections and decubitus ulcers. Nursing home and hospital patients who suffer from decubitus ulcers cannot heal if they are not properly hydrated. Dehydration slows wound healing in decubitus ulcers. Water is integral in maintaining skin integrity and skin turgor, sending nutrients to the skin to advance healing and maintaining proper circulation to prevent decubitus ulcers.

Dehydration; Decubitus Ulcer Lawsuit – Suing a Nursing Home / Hospital for Dehydration

There is no excuse for patient dehydration. This is a telltale sign of patient neglect. If you or a loved one suffered from dehydration, decubitus ulcers, falls or a wrongful death in a nursing home or hospital, do not let the abuse go unpunished. Contact our qualified decubitus ulcer dehydration lawyers at (561) 316-7207 to learn more about your potential decubitus ulcer dehydration lawsuit.

1 Sources: Nutritional Aspects of Wound Healing. Home Health Nurse. 1999; December 17: 719-729; Contemporary Nutrition Support Practice. A Clinical Guide. 1998. 

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