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Call to reduce kidney injury by monitoring patient fluids

A campaign has been launched in hospitals and nursing homes to encourage staff to better monitor and manage inpatients’ fluid status.

The Hydration Matters campaign has been developed by NHS Kidney Care because inadequate hydration is one of the main causes of acute kidney injury. 

The campaign aims to remind all healthcare staff that monitoring fluid status and ensuring correct hydration should be an essential core component of care for all patients.

Posters have been distributed to nursing directors at acute trusts and to nursing homes.

Beverley Matthews, nurse and director of NHS Kidney Care, said: “Ensuring patients are adequately hydrated is one of the most important things healthcare professionals can do to prevent AKI and monitoring fluid status should be an essential component of basic patient care.” 

Readers' comments (10)

  • Hells bells - don't clinicians already know this !!!!!!

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  • it's appalling that anybody, let alone professionals and staff working in healthcare institutions, need to be told this and could cause such damage to fellow human beings! surely even in everyday life it is basic knowledge and common sense that when a guest comes to their house or they visit anybody refreshment is offered and what is the purpose of so many cafes, restaurants and other facilities selling beverages and food right across the world if it isn't, apart from making money, to offer sustenance and fulfil a basic human need without which people cannot survive?

    lack of staff is no excuse here (anybody from CEO or 'matron' and visitor down can bend an elbow and flex a wrist to offer somebody a glass of fluid) as this need comes practically before any other. there is no point in providing medical and nursing care to a patient if they are at first not adequately hydrated and/or nourished. what on earth is the point? Anybody who keeps a pet at home or lives on a farm knows they have to feed their animals and ensure they have enough to drink!

    Then as everybody likes to discuss costs and money, think of all the extra costs to the health service and taxpayers if they have to fork out for the damage caused (and at a time when everybody is complaining that resources such as budgets and staffing levels are becoming more scarce), not only to the kidneys but to the whole living organism, by such omissions not to mention the humane (physical as well as psychological) side and damage of treating patients with negligence.

    Another axe I would grid is failure to provide mouth care or the means for some patients who may be immobile or bedridden to carry it out for themselves. Imagine the damage this can cause to every system and organ in the body from infection, not to mention the damage to a feeling of well being and dental caries which then have to be remedied at great discomfort and/or financial cost to the patient and something many can ill afford, and as the result of neglect of what is normally a basic and simple procedure of good mouth care. and don't damage tooth enamel with lemon juice and glycerine or sugary drinks as there are plenty of alternatives available! teeth need toothpaste and a toothbrush or a good quality mouthwash!

    Just think of the care you hopefully take of your own teeth and your own basic needs and treat others with equal respect with which you treat yourself and your loved ones!

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  • So why do you allow fluids to be classed as treamen tand therefore can be withdrawn or witheld if patients are not recovering fast enough, or not dying fast enough?

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  • Anon above

    who is classing them as treatment?

    oral fluids are not treatment. they are a basic human need and a human right without which survival is not possible!

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  • Tiger Girl

    Anonymous | 2-Jul-2012 10:28 am

    Anonymous | 2-Jul-2012 10:51 am

    There is a certain lack of clarity about what is a treatment - but a drink of water, as opposed to artificial hydration, probably would not normally be regarded as treatment.

    Of course, if a mentally capable patient insists on drinking, and clinicians believe that drinking might damage/kill him, there is the complication that so long as he understands the clinical consequences of his getting a glass of water and drinking it, legally it is his choice - in that situation, clinicians tend to get quite nervous.

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  • ‘Don’t clinicians already know this?’, asks the first poster above. Our experience at NHS Kidney Care is that they do, but they don’t always act on it. Too often fluid status is not monitored until the symptoms of dehydration are well developed.

    Inadequate hydration is one of the main causes of many avoidable healthcare complications, including acute kidney injury (AKI). AKI affects around one in five people admitted to hospital as an emergency and many elderly patients. However, nearly a third of AKI cases are avoidable.

    While AKI has often been seen as a kidney problem, it occurs in all general medical settings. This campaign aims to remind all healthcare professionals of the importance of monitoring the fluid status of all inpatients, regardless of how well they appear at the time.

    Copies of the posters are available from our website - www.kidneycare.nhs.uk/hydration.

    Beverley Matthews MSc RN
    Director, NHS Kidney Care

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  • http://www.nursingtimes.net/beverley-matthews/1562437.publicprofile

    why do they know and not act on it?

    I know and act on it as part of my daily practice. I wouldn't dream of damaging a patient, or even a guest in my own house, through such wilful negligence and there is no excuses for any other healthcare professional to do so either. These are trained nurses and people who have been employed and paid to look after patients we are talking about!

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  • ‘Don’t clinicians already know this?’, asks the first poster above. Our experience at NHS Kidney Care is that they do, but they don’t always act on it. Too often fluid status is not monitored until the symptoms of dehydration are well developed.

    Inadequate hydration is one of the main causes of many avoidable healthcare complications, including acute kidney injury (AKI). AKI affects around one in five people admitted to hospital as an emergency and many elderly patients. However, nearly a third of AKI cases are avoidable.

    While AKI has often been seen as a kidney problem, it occurs in all general medical settings. This campaign aims to remind all healthcare professionals of the importance of monitoring the fluid status of all inpatients, regardless of how well they appear at the time.

    Copies of the posters are available from our website - www.kidneycare.nhs.uk/hydration.

    Beverley Matthews MSc RN
    Director, NHS Kidney Care

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  • "Man, 22, who died from dehydration in hospital rang police for a drink of water"

    By Telegraph reporters 3:28PM BST 02 Jul 2012

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9370376/Man-22-who-died-from-dehydration-in-hospital-rang-police-for-a-drink-of-water.html#disqus_thread

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 2-Jul-2012 7:22 pm

    The more detailed story as it appeared in the printed DT is a bit more complicated, but it is still pretty appalling !

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