Spotlight on: Covid & Hydration!
As we enter into some (hopefully) warmer weeks we would like to continue to focus on hydration for staff and residents. The emphasis over previous years has been on the accessibility of fluids; promoting easy access to a variety of healthy fluids and high water content foods around the care home setting. Our hydration champions have set up some amazing initiatives to support this which has included dedicated hydration stations, themed hydration activities, garden parties, jelly rounds, smoothie making, fruit kebabs, personalised cups and even an ice cream van! We underestimated the impact these initiatives had not only on fluid consumption but on psychological wellbeing too, it was fantastic!
Our plan for this summer was to share those ideas and experiences with other providers, extend our hydration champion network and focus on raising some awareness around the impact of oral health and fluid intake.
Today, however we face a very different challenge that means some of the wonderful initiatives that once worked to improve fluid consumption no longer fit with our current situation. Routine behaviours surrounding food and fluids have been disrupted by COVID-19, including less contact time (isolation, shielding), less specialist face-to-face consultations, less visitors, less group activities, isolated meal times (shielding, isolation), less time spent in communal areas, less accessible fluids and not forgetting more PPE!! It is therefore as important as ever to ensure nutritional needs assessments and care planning are regularly reviewed and adapted to suit resident’s needs.
It is also vitally important that we continue to support care staff to stay hydrated by offering more frequent hydration breaks whilst additional PPE is being worn (ensure masks are discarded and replaced after each break).
CMS GP, Dr Hall expresses the importance of hydration when dealing with COVID-19:
“During the COVID pandemic, most elderly residents affected have thankfully recovered from the infection. However, carers have seen that residents with the illness can stop eating and drinking adequate amounts. This is often the only change that is noticed in older residents, rather than the typical symptoms of cough or fever. Residents with dementia have been more affected as the infection often makes confusion worse, which then leads to drinking less. Dehydration can cause low blood pressure leading to falls or kidney failure. So it is very important to try to encourage a normal fluid intake - it really could save a life. If, despite your best efforts at using hydration tips, a resident continues to have inadequate fluid intake then please contact your GP or the COVID Management Service (01432 262676) for support”.
We will be continuing to plan for future hydration workshops and hope to hear about any initiatives or top tips for staying hydrated during COVID-19 from you all. Please visit our facebook page to find useful resources new and old for both resident and staff wellbeing.
Stay safe, stay hydrated #hydratedandhealthyhere