Residents With Dehydration
Dehydration in nursing home residents is a common and dangerous problem
requiring the involvement of the entire interdisciplinary team. The symptoms
of dehydration among the elderly can be alarmingly swift and can quickly
result in a life-threatening situation.
Schedule fluid administration at least three times a day between meals.
Older people tolerate frequent administration of fluid in smaller quantities
better than infrequent large quantities.
Offer at least a full glass of fluid with medications. Studies have shown
that residents tend to drink the entire amount of fluid offered.
To maintain hydration, note the residents' preferences for type and temperature
of fluids, and individualize the hydration plan to encourage compliance.
Instruct residents, staff, and family members about the importance of hydration.
Involve the resident and family in establishing and meeting hydration goals.
Arrange for residents to eat meals and have snacks with others. Residents
typically consume more food and fluids in a social setting. Be sure to
offer beverages during all activity and therapy programs.
Provide good oral hygiene to encourage consumption of fluids.
Instruct staff to use a direct, positive approach when administering fluids.
Avoid asking: "Do you want something to drink?" Instead, say "Here is some
cool, refreshing water for you, Mrs. Jones." Older people may not feel
thirsty and may not recognize their need for fluid
CNA's could offer small amounts of fluid every time they toilet a resident.
One CNA could be assigned to make regular rounds with a beverage cart to
offer fluids and assistance with toileting.
Nursing staff can leave fluids at the residents' bedsides and offer milk
as a first line of defense against insomnia
Dehydration is a common and dangerous problem that threatens the lives
of many elderly nursing home residents. Educating residents, family, and
staff about the dangers of dehydration is the key to tackling this health
problem. By taking a proactive approach to preventing dehydration,
staff members can make great progress in reducing unnecessary hospitalizations
and maximizing resident health and well-being.