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Are all your patients adequately hydrated?


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


Readers' comments (5)

  • they were not drinking water from vases this was made up by the media

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  • Unless you witnessed this first hand, you cannot deny that it happened, to deny the event is to belittle people's suffering. I have witnessed denial of fluids to a relative who was grossly dehydrated and who resorted to drinking mouthwash in an attempt to quench the thirst. I did the right thing and reported the incident to the Matron who then turned the incident around into a personal attack on myself. Only when I contacted The CQC was the incident taken seriously. My report was not the first of similar incidents, the Hospital was in special measures as a result. Complacency has no place in Nursing, nor does the denial of such a basic human need, adequate hydration.

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  • Anonymous | 30-Dec-2014 10:53 am

    Your evidence?

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  • That is quite untrue as we all know however intentional rounding could have been of great benefit here.

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  • Anon 10:53 You don't say!

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