A Cornwall community nurse has come up with a ground-breaking innovation that could transform dehydration prevention.
Naomi Campbell, hydration lead at Peninsula Community Health, has researched a device that allows patients to independently sip fluids with minimal effort, in order to reduce reliance on nursing staff.
She received £15,000 from NHS Innovations Southwest to develop her idea, which is called the “micro straw”. A special cup measures the fluids consumed, which the straw can be placed into, making it simple for carers and nurses to document consumption and to prevent dehydration.
She has also developed red, amber and green placemats as a simple form of risk indicator for dehydration. The placemat colours indicate whether the patient can eat and drink independently and the level of help they will need.
The assessment tool has attracted national interest from NHS England and is currently being trialled in Falmouth Hospital.
Ms Campbell, who is currently looking for a commercial partner to help develop the next prototype of the device, said nursing staff needed “re-educating” about hydration.
“We know that it is unfortunately not possible to stop people from becoming dehydrated, but nurses can be refreshed on the matter,” she said. “I have been visiting universities to speak to student nurses and also speaking to nurses who may have been posted for several years.”
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