Patient safety and hydration in the care of older people
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Patient safety and hydration in the care of older people

Julie Burns Junior sister, Royal Bolton Hospital, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, Bolton

Julie Burns sets out the causes of dehydration in older people and how nurses can manage patients’ fluid intake and thereby improve care outcomes

Ensuring patients are adequately hydrated is a fundamental part of nursing care, however, it is clear from the literature that dehydration remains a significant problem in the NHS with implications for patient safety. The development of dehydration is often multifactorial and older age is an independent risk factor for the condition. However, the media often blame nursing staff for simply not giving patients enough to drink. This article discusses the scale of the problem in acute care settings and aims to raise awareness of the importance of hydration management and accurate documentation in nursing practice. It suggests that intentional hourly rounding may provide an opportunity for nurses to ensure older patients are prompted or assisted to take a drink.

Nursing Older People. 28, 4,21-24. doi: 10.7748/nop.28.4.21.s21

Correspondence

j.burns73@ntlworld.com

Peer review

This article has been subject to double-blind review and has been checked using antiplagiarism software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 11 January 2016

Accepted: 11 March 2016