Can someone help me with this question?

  1. Which client is at greatest risk for dehydration?

    An infant with diarrhea
    An elderly person who lives alone

    This is one of my study questions and I had picked the infant but my friend said no it's the elderly person. Due to more risk factors. Is she right? She's convincing me now...
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   Lurksalot
    Going strictly by the information provided, I would agree with you and say the infant with diarrhea. Yes, an elderly person living alone could/would have several potential risk factors, but an infant with diarrhea has an actual risk factor happening at this moment. I would pick an actual problem over a potential one.
  4. by   RNsRWe
    You are right, not your friend, for the reason Lurksalot just stated. ALWAYS choose the actual situation over a potential one. That was something drummed into me during practice questions for NCLEX! Many times the POTENTIAL for injury is very high with Client A, but it's Client B who is in the most trouble at this exact moment.

    Fix the baby
  5. by   JR816
    I agree!!!!!!!!
  6. by   Princess74
    Me too!
  7. by   donsterRN
    Ditto!
  8. by   puggymae
    We know for sure the baby has diarrhea - for all we know the elderly person is mixing a pitcher of Bloody Mary's and getting ready for company! I agree - go with what you know for sure.
  9. by   SoulShine75
    The infant with diarhhea, because they didn't give any indication why the elderly person @ home would be at risk for dehydration.

    Oh and adding on to what another poster has said. Don't read into the question, just take it for what it is...don't assume anything with these tricky nursing questions.
  10. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from puggymae
    We know for sure the baby has diarrhea - for all we know the elderly person is mixing a pitcher of Bloody Mary's and getting ready for company! I agree - go with what you know for sure.
    That is exactly what I was thinking . . . .

    I agree with everyone - go with the baby.

    Ah, this brings back memories of school and is making me sick.

    steph
  11. by   FutureNP-PA
    GO with the baby. I agree with everyone else. My grandmother lives alone & is no more at risk for dehydration than I am. =)
  12. by   BoonersmomRN
    Thanks everyone!

    If I have told myself once I have told myself a 1000 times....go with your gut instinct Amy...go with your gut instinct.

    As a mother of 2 I KNOW how fast infants can dehydrate....so I immediately bullseyed on that one.
  13. by   cathiep
    baby!

    Cathie
  14. by   Daytonite
    The answer is the baby with diarrhea. Do you understand why? I think that is the important concept you need to understand here. Quoting from Metheny, "A large loss of liquid stools can rapidly deplete the young child's ECF volume. . ." (page 400, Fluid and Electrolyte Balance: Nursing Considerations by Norma M. Metheny). In the book she has a chapter that addresses fluid balance in the elderly and there is only research to show dehydration occurring in nursing home residents. It is most often due to underlying medical problems that restricts them in some way from their ability to take in oral fluids. That is very different from being dehydrated from an acute case of diarrhea.

    The baby will dehydrate faster and be more acutely ill before any elderly adult who is just not taking in adequate oral fluids.

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