One common problem among patients of nursing homes is the risk of dehydration. Patients may take many medications, and certain types could make them prone to dehydration. Along with the inability to obtain a drink whenever they want and difficulty with memory lapses, some patients are more likely to suffer from dehydration than others.
It is important for the facility to focus on reducing dehydration in patients, because not working to do so could be a sign of neglect or negligence. The good news is that there are some ways that nursing homes can address the issue and help patients stay hydrated.
1. Monitor patients with memory problems
Patients with memory problems, like those with dementia or Alzheimer's disease, may struggle to remember to drink enough water. Nurses and staff members should track how much the patient is drinking and encourage drinking regularly to avoid dehydration.
2. Encourage fluids at breakfast, lunch and dinner
Patients shouldn't skip meals, and during those meals, plenty of fluids should be given in various forms. Some patients get fluids from coffee, water, juices or through other means. Facilities should offer liquid-heavy dietary options.
3. Use pitchers to track intake
One thing some facilities do is use water pitchers to track patient intake. They provide one large water bottle with enough water for several hours. Patients are encouraged to drink it before they are refilled later in the day. Each pitcher has measurements on the side to help nurses accurately track intake.
Dehydration puts patients at risk, but there are ways to reduce the risk.