When residents in your care aren’t drinking enough, it can be incredibly stressful for you as you know the impact that poor hydration can have on them.
As you have their best interests at heart, it’s understandably frustrating.
So, it’s important to understand the reasons why they may not be drinking enough, so that you can identify ways to encourage good hydration habits.
Here are some of the most common reasons:
• If they suffer with incontinence, they may reduce the amount they drink or avoid it altogether to avoid any embarrassment. This is especially true of an evening, in case of any accidents occurring in the night.
• The feeling of thirst naturally declines as we age, so it could simply be that they don’t feel thirsty and therefore don’t think they need to have a drink.
• They’re unable to make themselves a drink or drink by themselves. Some residents may have limited mobility or require help with eating and drinking, meaning they may rely on others to provide them with drinks. If this isn’t happening as often as they need, it may lead to them not drinking enough.
• If they’re taking certain medications (such as diuretics) or have particular illnesses or health conditions (such as vomiting and diarrhoea), this may lead to loss of fluids. If residents aren’t replacing those lost fluids, this could then lead to them becoming dehydrated.
• For residents with dementia or other cognitive impairments, it’s possible that they are simply forgetting to drink.
Find a Solution to Encourage Them to Drink
Once you’ve identified the main reason the residents in your care aren’t drinking, you can attempt to find a solution to suit them.
• For residents who suffer with incontinence, arrange to have a chat with them (if they’re comfortable) to understand their needs more. Dehydration can actually worsen incontinence as it can cause bladder irritation. So, work out a plan to help them drink little and often throughout the day, stopping at a particular point in the evening to avoid the need for them to get up in the night.
• For residents who just don’t feel thirsty or are taking certain medications, you can remind them of the importance of good hydration and encourage them to drink little and often throughout the day to stay hydrated.
• For residents who have cognitive impairments and for those who need help drinking, you can set times throughout the day when they are encouraged to drink as a group.
The solutions will vary on an individual basis, but this should give you a helping hand when it comes to helping those in your care.
For more ideas on how to encourage residents to stay hydrated, you can check out these 6 practical ways to encourage care home residents to drink.