A care home in West Sussex has been in the news this week in recognition of its efforts to promote effective hydration among its service users. Glebe House care home, which cares for up to 40 older people, has introduced a range of hydration initiatives, the most popular being a ‘mocktail’ event where a range of non-alcoholic cocktails were served, including a ‘Roy Rogers’ and a ‘Shirley Temple’.
The home’s efforts have been in response to the Hydrate in Care Homes project, devised by the Kent-Surrey-Sussex Academic Health Science Network (KSSAHSN), with the aim of improving hydration among older people living in care homes. Trials in other homes in the area have also led to improved hydration, a reduction in the number of falls and fewer urinary tract infections. Read on to find out more about the Hydrate in Care Homes project and how you can improve hydration among your own service users.
The Hydrate in Care Homes project was initially developed by North East Hampshire and Farnham Clinical Commissioning Group, with a mission to reduce illness and unnecessary hospital attendance among care home residents. The project has a charter which states that its aims are to:
- Improve hydration awareness for staff and residents.
- Encourage optimum hydration through the use of individualised drinking regimes to meet the hydration needs of all residents.
- Ensure there is access to clean drinking water and hot drinks 24 hours a day.
- Reassure residents that prompt assistance with all toilet needs will be provided.
- Provide agreed data to the Improvement Practitioner to demonstrate the impact of the project.
4 Steps to Discover More about Hydrate for Care Homes and the Good Practices You Can Adopt in Your Service
- Learn more. The KSSAHSN website provides a direct link to further information on the project, along with useful resources.
- Organise your own events. Think about social activities which provide the opportunity to promote fluid intake, as well as being enjoyable. Mocktail afternoons or serving non-alcoholic Pimms-type drinks on warm days, rather than simple squash or cups of tea, can encourage and improve the level of interest and engagement with fluids.
- Consider alternatives. As well as encouraging drinks, consider other fluid-rich alternatives, such as ice lollies or fruit. Fruits such as melon, grapes and strawberries are excellent sources of fluid and can be eaten throughout the day.
- Develop a hydration policy. Work with your staff team to a develop a specific policy on hydration which will identify your aims and establish ways in which staff can play their part in promoting hydration. Involving your whole team in this will ensure as many ideas and opinions are included and improve your chance of success.