A specialist practitioner created a hydration toolkit for care homes that has increased awareness of signs and symptoms of dehydration.

Lesley Spall.  Picture credit: John Houlihan

Nationally and locally there were concerns that care homes were not meeting residents hydration needs. Nurse Lesley Spall, of Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trusts care home effective support service, found homes were focusing on malnutrition at the expense of hydration and were often unaware of the guidelines.

She discovered there was a dearth of practical guidance tailored to care homes, so she set about creating the toolkit. To ensure it was truly bespoke, Lesley involved care home staff in the design, construction, implementation, evaluation and refining.

The resources include a screening tool using low scores. This is improving assessment, care planning and monitoring of those at risk of dehydration. Posters are displayed in care homes as a visual reminder to ensure residents are hydrated.

Lesley gave education sessions in care homes to help staff devise strategies for managing fluid intake whether a resident can drink, cannot drink or does not want to. A podcast and PowerPoint presentation are used for training and inductions.

Hydration champions were identified in three care homes, which empowered those staff to change their homes culture.

Lesley Spall.  Picture credit: John Houlihan

Lesley is looking at how to introduce the toolkit to all care homes. Staff from mental health wards have also approached her about using the tool.

Lesley is a finalist in the Hallmark Care Homes-sponsored Nursing Older People category of the 2016 RCNi Nurse Awards.

She says: Im absolutely delighted Ive got this far in these awards. Ensuring service users remain hydrated is absolutely crucial to maintaining their health and wellbeing.

Weve taken an innovative behavioural-change approach in putting this hydration toolkit together. It focuses as much on education as it does on fluid measurement.

The work that has gone into this is about ensuring older people under our care remain well and healthy.

About the sponsor

Hallmark Care Homes

Hallmark Care Homes

Hallmark Care Homes is one of the leading providers of high quality, relationship-centred care, with 15 beautifully furnished care homes across England and Wales. They are dedicated to providing quality environments and high standards of care, which enable residents to live life to the full. Hallmark Care Homes employ outstanding nurses that play a vital part in their care delivery. They provide exceptional career pathways for nurses from graduation through to senior managers, which include clinical and leadership programmes. If youre thinking of a career move, give Hallmark Care Homes a call on 01277 314191 or visit hallmarkcarehomes.co.uk

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