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Leicester programme aims to reduce dehydration and malnutrition in care homes


Nursing home staff in part of the East Midlands are receiving support to spot the hidden signs of dehydration and malnutrition earlier.

A prevention programme, to help ensure residents in nursing homes stay hydrated and well, was launched this week with a first of its kind workshop.

“We can increase the skillset of our nurses working in nursing homes”

Chris West

The event saw nurses and nursing home staff taught about spotting the hidden signs of dehydration and malnutrition earlier in the vulnerable residents they care for.

During the last 12 months around 10% of care home residents admitted to hospital had symptoms of dehydration, said Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group, which is behind the initiative.

The launch of the prevention programme was intended to coincide with National Nutrition and Hydration Week, which runs from 13-19 March. It is supported by the CCG’s nursing leads and GPs.

Leicester City CCG

Initiative to help care home staff spot dehydration signs

Workshop for care home staff

The workshop, presented by the Leicester City Care Home Dietetic Team, covered the signs and symptoms of dehydration and malnutrition, and how they can be difficult to diagnose because of other pre-existing conditions.

As part of the workshop, nursing staff were advised how to best include nutritional needs and risk of dehydration into a resident’s individual care plan to help prevent them becoming unwell. Staff also learnt “smarter” ways to monitor and improve the daily food and fluid intake of their residents.

Chris West, director of quality and nursing at Leicester City CCG, said: “Residents who live in nursing homes are particularly at risk of developing [malnutrition and dehydration] because some of them already have complex health needs which can mask the symptoms.

“Introducing this support programme means we can increase the skillset of our nurses working in nursing homes to keep residents safe, well and supported,” she added.


Readers' comments (2)

  • This is a great initiative, it's good to be aware but more education is needed among healthcare assistants on the need to spot signs of dehydration and report immediately to nurses. There is a need for assessment tools to identify and managed dehydration early.

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  • There is need to spend most of the time and energy involved on actually OFFERING DRINKS, to residents.

    Assume dehydration is present unless you can prove otherwise, ensuring that individuals with medical needs to keep fluids low are identified to all.

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