What are the complications?

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There are several complications that can occur in an elderly person who has diarrhea. The first would be dehydration. Make sure the person is getting plenty of fluids: water, juice, jello, broths, popsicles, etc.

Watch for skin breakdown. I'm assuming that you're changing and cleaning this elderly person? Don't wipe to hard. Make sure you get into all the skin folds, even the pelvis. Diarrhea has a mind of its own and can go anywhere. After you've cleaned up apply a soothing skin barrier to the bottom.

Diarrhea can cause a UTI even if you're doing your very best in keeping the person clean. Signs of UTI would be dark, concentrated urine that smells bad, low grade fever, increased confusion. An antibiotic will be needed if you suspect your person has a UTI.

If you can't trace the source of the diarrhea take your person to the Dr. It might be a good idea to take a stool sample with you but ask the nurse when you call to make the appointment.
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Bowel problems can be extremely frustrating, whether you are dealing with constipation or diarrhea.
*Examine their diet to see if they have food sensitivities that could be causing it
*Some medications can mess with the bowels too, although constipation is a more common side effect
*Fiber laxatives like metamucil can help with chronic diarrhea, but you have to be sure they are drinking enough because they can cause intestinal blockages otherwise
*Something to be aware of especially if they cycle between constipation and diarrhea, sometimes a partial blockage can cause watery stools to be passed around the blockage
*Arm yourself with lots of disposable gloves, briefs and your favourite barrier creams. A peri wash might be a good idea as well. If there is spill over keep furniture and bed covered with disposable chux.
*Oh, and be sure their doctor knows about it. Sometimes it can be a sign of cancer.
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