Frequently, the elderly show less interest in eating. Additionally, they may also stop drinking as much. Although the actual prevalence of malnutrition and dehydration is not known, dehydration remains the most common fluid and electrolyte disorder among the elderly.
Weight loss can become quite noticeable, and if there is extreme weight loss, artificial nutrition or hydration may be considered. Potential areas of liability include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Failure to consult family members regarding intervention for weight loss (including feeding tubes
- Worsening of a pressure ulcers or infection because of a malnourished or dehydrated state
Risk management addresses liability. Risk management in health care considers quality assurance, patient safety, and patients’ rights. Potential areas of risk include medical mistakes, such as mistakes in medication delivery; injury and accidents; and issues of facility management. Any adverse event, which interferes with delivery of care, can result in litigation.
Risk management is proactive when it avoids or prevents risk and reactive when it minimizes the loss or damage after an adverse event.
Facilities should proactively apply common sense to prevent bad results or accidents. Many maintenance activities that may involve risk, such as mopping slippery floors in high traffic areas, can be scheduled during periods of resident inactivity. Additionally, a facility should design and implement a plant to avoid risk and minimize the results if a damaging incident occurs.