Dehydration is a concern in older people due to the potential adverse effects on function and clinical outcome; common complications include constipation, pressure ulcers, urinary tract infections, and dizziness leading to falls and fractures. As most dehydration is caused by prolonged inadequate oral fluid intake, this project aims to raise awareness of good hydration to improve health and wellbeing in those who are being cared for. The Hydrate in Care Homes Project was developed by Kent Surrey Sussex AHSN based on the initial work by North East Hampshire and Fareham CCG in 2014. The evaluation report for the project can be downloaded from the 'resources' section on this page.
Hydration in older people is a complex problem for a number of reasons; physiological age related changes in the body systems will naturally leave an older person more susceptible to dehydration. In addition it is not uncommon for individuals to suffer with health issues or to take medications which restrict the ability or desire to drink fluids. There is also a social and psychological component which may reduce motivation to drink through loneliness or fear over frequency and continence issues.
Rather than recommending a set amount of drinks per day, the hydrate approach talks about optimum and optimal hydration; optimum hydration is the consumption of sufficient fluids to replace the fluids lost each day whereas optimal hydration is achieving the best level of hydration for an individual dependent on their current circumstances even if this doesn’t lead to optimum hydration.
Hampshire Pilot - care homes
Hydrate will launch in 16 Hampshire county council care homes in April 2018, where staff from each home have been trained as hydration champions. They will raise awareness within their settings and actively encourage staff and residents to work together to achieve optimal or optimum hydration. For information on the launch event, please vist our events page. Hampshire County Council's PaCT team who developed and delivered the hydration champion training has kindly allowed us to share their training resources on this page. Please note that the training resources are available from the 'resources' section, and will download as a .zip file for your convenience. Use WinZip (often installed as standard on PCs) or Windows Explorer to open, extract and save the files. Should you encounter any problems, please click the Contact Us button below.
Domiciliary care agency pilot
We are in the process of using the learning and resources from the Hydrate project to develop an approach for domiciliary care. We are currently planning a small feasibility pilot with a domiciliary care agency in Hampshire.
Links to useful resources:
Links to other useful information:
ILC-UK Hydration and Older People in the UK - a PDF report (produced by the International Longevity Centre-UK, on behalf of the Parliamentary Hydration Forum) to address the problem of dehydration in older people, and understand the solutions
NHS England Commissioning Excellent Nutrition and Hydration - a PDF report providing guidance to commissioners with regard to commissioning person-centred, clinically safe and integrated services for the nutrition and hydration needs of their population, in order to ensure all people receive safe and high quality nutrition and hydration support when required