The end of year in Australia means warmer weather which can mean an increased risk of dehydration. Dehydration happens when the amount of fluid you drink is less than what is lost.
Older people, including those living in aged care homes, are more at risk of dehydration. This can quickly lead to serious and dangerous clinical outcomes.
Residents living in aged care homes can be more at risk of dehydration if they:
- have advanced cognitive impairment
- are receiving medication that increases fluid loss
- have impaired mobility or dexterity.
Those who are at higher risk may need extra observation and support.
Ways to help people stay hydrated:
- Make sure fluids are always available and accessible. Always put drinks in reach and use assistive equipment when needed.
- Frequently offer a choice of drinks during the day, including the resident’s preferred options, and during medication rounds. As well as water, fluids to support hydration may include tea, coffee, milk and juice-based drinks. Alcohol should be limited.
- Offer a choice of foods high in fluid, such as soup, ice cream, jelly, custard, yoghurt, and fruits like melon, apples and pears.
- Use fluid balance charts for residents at risk of dehydration. Know the typical volume of fluid held in standard glassware, crockery and high fluid content foods to help make your records accurate.
- Make sure that all food and fluids offered to support hydration meet a person’s requirements for texture-modified foods and thickened fluids.
For professional advice on nutrition and hydration care for older people, call our Food, Nutrition and Dining Hotline on 1800 844 044, Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm AEDT.