Authors: Beales A
Nurs Older People. 2017 Apr 28;29(4):26-29
Nursing older people in acute settings involves the provision of complex care, including the maintenance of good hydration. Dehydration is a serious condition that may contribute to the development of pressure ulcers, urinary tract infections, acute kidney injury and venous thromboembolism. If oral hydration methods are not successful, the alternatives are intravenous (IV) or subcutaneous fluid hydration therapy. These are invasive methods and may not be tolerated by all patients. This article uses a case study to explore an innovative approach to oral hydration. The intervention was developed for Roy, a patient with advanced Alzheimer's disease, who had a reduced fluid intake and who became agitated when staff or family members attempted to assist him with nutrition and hydration. It involved consultation with Roy's family and the introduction of a flavoured drink to encourage the patient to drink. His weekly fluid intake doubled as a result and the intervention avoided the use of alternative invasive rehydration therapy. Although this was a local initiative developed for one patient, it is an example of how a person - entred, collaborative approach can have a positive effect for patients.