Improving hydration of care home residents by addressing institutional barriers to fluid consumption – an improvement project.

Bak, Agnieszka (2019) Improving hydration of care home residents by addressing institutional barriers to fluid consumption – an improvement project. Doctoral thesis, University of West London.

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Background: Older people are at risk of dehydration due to a wide range of age�related physiological changes. Additional conditions such as dementia or physical
frailty may contribute to low fluid intakes and further predispose the older people to
dehydration. Care home residents are more likely to be admitted to hospital with
dehydration, but there are few recent studies that evaluated the amount of fluids that
residents consume or the barriers to hydration that they experience. Little is also
known about the care they receive and how this may influence their fluid intakes.
Objectives: To assess current hydration care in care homes, identify barriers to
drinking adequate amounts and develop strategies to optimise fluid intakes in the
older care home residents.
Method: This study was conducted in one care home in London, which provides care
to a multi-ethnic population of residents. The exploratory phase used observations,
focus groups and questionnaires to determine how drinks were provided and to
explore attitudes of staff and residents towards hydration care. The intervention
phase used Model for Improvement framework to identify and test strategies to
improve hydration for the residents.
Results: Observations revealed that most residents consumed less than the
recommended minimum of 1500ml of fluids. Hydration was not seen as a priority,
and this resulted in several barriers that prevented staff to provide sufficient fluids,
and the residents to consume them. Interventions were designed to overcome these
issues and included: increasing the number of drink opportunities, improving
preference compliance and introducing a new drinking equipment. During the testing,
most interventions resulted in the residents consuming more fluids, but sustaining
these interventions was difficult. Barriers to sustainability included poor leadership
and task-oriented work culture.
Conclusions: This study demonstrated that fluid intakes in care home residents are
suboptimal. This is mostly due to insufficient number of opportunities for the
residents to obtain drinks as well as not receiving adequate assistance and preferred
drinks. Interventions which target these barriers have a potential to increase fluid
intakes. Care homes need to implement appropriate strategies, but this requires
P a g e | 4
organisational commitment with support from senior managers and strong leadership
at operational level.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Identifier: 10.36828/xvqy0488
Subjects: Medicine and health
Depositing User: Marc Forster
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2023 11:19
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2024 07:20


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