Strategies to prevent dehydration in older people with dementia: a literature review
evidence and practice    

Strategies to prevent dehydration in older people with dementia: a literature review

Kirsty Wilson Nursing student, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, Scotland
Jan Dewing Sue Pembrey chair of nursing and director, Centre for Person-centred Practice Research, head of graduate school, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, Scotland

Why you should read this article
  • To understand the challenges and barriers older people experience when attempting to stay hydrated

  • To consider your role in ensuring older people remain hydrated, and the strategies you can use to improve their fluid intake

  • To be aware of how effective communication with older people and between staff can support the identification of people at risk of dehydration and promote fluid intake

Dehydration is prevalent in hospitalised older people and residents in care homes, and older people with dementia are particularly at risk. A literature review was conducted to determine the evidence-based interventions used to prevent and manage dehydration in older people with dementia. Three databases were searched for relevant literature: Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, and MEDLINE, alongside hand-searching. In-depth reading of the 12 studies included in this literature review was undertaken. Five themes were identified in relation to the hydration of older people: physical and social environment; staff communication strategies; access to drinks; drinking vessels; and individual preferences.

The evidence suggests that dehydration in older people with dementia is an ongoing concern that needs to be addressed. There is evidence supporting the use of essential nursing interventions to improve hydration, such as coloured cups and verbal prompts, but less is known about the barriers preventing nurses from implementing these evidence-based interventions.

Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2019.e1208

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

kiirstt09@gmail.com

Conflict of interest

None declared

Wilson K, Dewing J (2019) Strategies to prevent dehydration in older people with dementia: a literature review. Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2019.e1208

Published online: 26 November 2019