Wessex AHSN has worked in collaboration with Hampshire County Council to produce the Hydration at Home Toolkit, which includes an E-learning module.
We are delighted that the Hydration at Home e-learning module and Toolkit has been endorsed by the British Dietetic Association.
Hydration training - the E-learning module
We have developed a basic hydration e-learning module for community carers of any role or level (including care homes, domiciliary care workers, unpaid carers and volunteers). The module provides a basic overview of the hydration needs specifically for older people and how you can support people to drink more. It also aims to dispel common myths, such as why using urine colour or skin turgor (pinch test) are NOT suitable for older people.
The module is hosted via Health Education England's electronic learning for health (e-lfh) portal
, which went live on 21st September 2020. It is also hosted on Hampshire County Council's learning portal, which is accessible for their internal staff. Longer term, the module will be 'owned' by the Malnutrition Task Force who will help facilitate any future updates required to the content.
The e-learning module has the following features:
Developed for Split into four sections: 1) Define good and poor hydration and explain their impact, 2) Assess a person's hydration needs to minimise the risk of poor hydration, 3) Address a person's hydration needs to improve their health and wellbeing, 4) Assessment
Takes approx. 40 mins to complete
Includes an assessment at the end where you can test your knowledge and obtain a certificate
Can be accessed via computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone
What is included in the rest of the E-learning Toolkit and how can I access it?
- Grandad's Story (video) - a video highlight how to recognise dehydration and provide support. Grandad's Story is also available with subtitles, which is ideal for showing in GP practice waiting rooms or for people who with a hearing impairment
- Links to recommended resources - these are linked to each section of the E-learning module and can be viewed by downloading the PDFs from the 'resources' section on the right
- Public health resources - we have created hydration leaflet entitled 'Staying hydrated as we get older: advice and guidance for people over 65, their family, friends and carers'. This is available as a trifold leaflet and as a large-print A4 version. We have also created our 'top tips' poster. All resources can be viewed/downloaded from the 'resources' section on the right.
We have produced an evaluation report to support the launch of the Toolkit, which covers the scoping, development and testing of the Toolkit. This is available from the 'resources' section on the right.
Why was the E-learning Toolkit developed?
As part of our 'Hydration at Home' projects
(working with care homes and domiciliary carers to evaluate an approach to improve hydration among older people in their care), we provided face-to-face training to carers. Interestingly, the majority of carers said they already knew all about hydration - including how to identify dehydration and what to do. However, as the training sessions progressed, it became apparent that the carers were all assessing hydration in different ways, and were not aware of the latest research, such as the fact that using urine colour is not a reliable way of assessing hydration status in older people. In addition, we carried out a scoping exercise to look at what hydration training was available for carers. We found that whilst some basic elements of nutrition and hydration across the lifespan are available as part of the Care Certificate, this training did not include ageing specific messages, or strategies to support older people to drink more. It was clear that a hydration training package, which enabled carers to receive training in a flexible and accessible way, was needed.
How was the E-learning Toolkit developed?
The content for the hydration E-learning module was created using the latest evidence-based messages by Wessex AHSN's Registered Dietitian, Hydration Clinical Lead and Healthy Ageing Programme Manager. The content was adapted from the Hydration Champion's training materials originally developed by Hampshire County Council's PaCT team as part of the care home project. The material was then passed to an E-learning developer from Hampshire County Council who brought the content to life with interactive text and activities to keep the learners engaged. We then contacted care homes and domiciliary care agencies in the Wessex region to test out the draft module. The testing involved getting carers to complete a pre-training questionnaire, completing the E-learning module and then providing feedback (through a focus group or telephone interview) along with a post-training questionnaire so we can compare knowledge and confidence before and after.
Here are some images of carers from Seabourne House care home in Dorset, carrying out their hydration E-learning in the comfort of one of the their lounges. They completed the E-learning individually or in pairs, using their own devices:
We recently worked with the University of Southampton to carry out an initial review of the impact of the e-learning module, and the factors affecting implementation of the Toolkit. This was carried out by Georgia Townson as part of her MSc Public Health dissertation. A 2-page summary of her dissertation can be downloaded from the 'Resources' section.
We are also working with our Insight Team here at Wessex AHSN to carry out a more large-scale evaluation into the impact of the e-learning module six months post national launch. This will consist of sending out surveys to carers who have accessed the e-learning to obtain data, along with carrying out a small sample of telephone interviews.
We would love to hear stories or case studies about how you've used the Toolkit (and e-learning module) in your care setting and how it has made a difference to you, your staff and the people you care for. Please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have something to share.