Assessing Dehydration Is Difficult According To New Report

When a recent nursing home death attributed to dehydration made national headlines, some nursing homes and parent companies began trying to find a way to accurately assess dehydration. Elderly people may be particularly susceptible to dehydration, especially those in understaffed nursing homes and long-term care facilities. However, assessing dehydration may not be as easy as it seems. Provider Magazine reports.

Dehydration can result in patients experiencing delirium, falls, constipation, urinary tract infections, and renal impairment.

A new report published in the August issue of JAMDA, the official journal of AMDA – the Society of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, stated that identifying and assessing dehydration is a concern.

The study, which is titled “Prevalence and Risk Factors of Dehydration Among Nursing Home Residents: A Systematic Review” had the authors reporting not just differing methods of assessing dehydration, but also confusion as to whether acute or chronic dehydration was being assessed.

The different tests being used to identify dehydration may have accounted for the differences in prevalence of the condition. Some used blood tests, others urine tests, and others relied on physical symptoms.

Of the physical symptoms that were present, fever and cognitive impairment were the ones noted with the most prevalence in patients in nursing facilities.

The one most frequent variable that was investigated in cases of dehydration was gender: it was discovered that females are more likely than males to experience dehydration.

The results of the study indicated a strong need to develop a uniform and reliable method of detecting dehydration among nursing home residents.