Fancy a cuppa? How we're helping improve hydration for our elderly patients.

Pinkies at the ready! It's all gone a bit fruity on ward 8 at HRI as we are trialling a UTI reduction programme.

The focus is on hydration, so we are offering more choices - especially herbal/fruit flavoured teas! All with the aim to encourage patients to drink more.

Our partners at a care home in Calderdale (Valley View) are also currently piloting the campaign  - as it a care-wide issue - before it is potentially rolled-out in the Trust across all our wards for elderly patients.

Here Rachel Tomlinson from Infection Control and Prevention explains more:

How does hydration help prevent infection?
Keeping adequately hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids is thought to help ‘flush out’ and eradicate bacteria from the urinary tract. Helps maintain skin integrity.

Why are elderly people susceptible? 
There are a number of reasons elderly adults face a greater risk of developing dehydration. First, total body water decreases with age (from 60 percent to 52 percent in men, and from 52 to 46 percent in women). Therefore, an adult over 60 years old has less water to lose before becoming dehydrated. Not to mention, chronic diseases, neurologic conditions and some prescription medications, to name a few, all can exacerbate dehydration quickly.

What happens if left undetected and untreated?
Caregivers should recognise the early warning signs of dehydration. Warning signs include fatigue, dizziness, thirst, dark urine, headaches, dry mouth/nose, dry skin and cramping. Studies of elderly patients have shown that dehydration increases the risk for constipation, urinary tract infection, respiratory tract infection, kidney stones and medicine toxicity. Plus, evidence shows that dehydration can lead to an increase in falls and longer stays in hospital. The main focus of the project is to reduce the incidence of UTIs – any of the many other benefits are beneficial!

Which herbal teas are most popular? 
Strawberry and Kiwi seems to be popular choice so far, although we are having tea ‘taster sessions’ on the ward with a variety of choices

Why are they better than “builders’ tea”?  
They are not necessarily better, it’s a matter of providing choices and ensuring an array of options are available. Caffeine-free options also have other health benefits


A drinks menu with pics has also been created to help patients on ward 8 decide what they want to drink - see attached.