Perhaps one of the most distressing images to emerge from the Francis report into care failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust in 2013 was the image of patients so thirsty that they were drinking dirty water out of flower vases.
While that was an extreme example, the report was not the first to raise the issue of patients becoming badly dehydrated.
The fact that dehydration is dangerous should come as no surprise to any nurse. However, there are many causes of dehydration, and some patients are at greater risk than others, both of becoming dehydrated and of serious consequences if they do so.
Our learning unit Preventing dehydration, written by Naomi Campbell, hydration lead nurse at Peninsula Community Health, Cornwall, was commissioned to help nurses to address this serious problem. It aims to increase their awareness of the causes and effects of dehydration, and offers strategies to ensure patients, care home residents and others at risk remain adequately hydrated.
While its focus is mainly on preventing dehydration in older people, it will help all nurses to understand the physical and emotional damage associated with dehydration, and to ensure their patients’ hydration needs are met.
Sponsored by Think Kidneys, the NHS campaign to improve the care of people with, or at risk of, acute kidney injury, the unit is free to all users.
Access all the Nursing Times Learning units on the NT Learning homepage