Long-Term Care

Look for signs to prevent dehydration

LTC Nursing Assistant Trainer, May 7, 2009

Dehydration is a serious, sometimes fatal condition. It means there are not enough body fluids and important blood salts in the body for it to carry on normal functions at the best level. This happens by loss of fluids, not drinking enough water, or a combination of both.

Always pay attention to what clients drink and how much they urinate. The following symptoms could be signs of dehydration and should be reported immediately:

Mild dehydration:

  • Dry lips and tongue
  • Dry membranes in the mouth
  • Skin looks dry

Moderate dehydration:

  • Skin is not very elastic, may sag, and doesn’t bounce back quickly when lightly pinched or released
  • Sunken eyes
  • Decreased urine output

Severe dehydration:

  • Rapid, weak pulse over 100 (at rest)
  • Rapid breathing
  • Low blood pressure; dizziness
  • Blue lips
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Shock, confusion, and lack of interest

This is an excerpt from HCPro’s book, The CNA Training Solution, Second Edition.

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