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In a study done by the author of this article, 31% of the LTC residents she followed over six months were dehydrated.
A different study found that 48% of older adults admitted from Emergency Departments had laboratory values indicative of dehydration.
Would you be surprised to know that sufficient fluid consumption has been associated with fewer falls, less constipation and laxative use, improved rehabilitation in orthopedic patients and a reduction in bladder cancer (among men)? In fact, drinking five or more 8-oz. glasses of water a day is also associated with lower rates of fatal coronary heart disease in middle-age and older adults
How astute are you at assessing for dehydration among your older patients? Do you know that the body's thirst response becomes blunted with age? It's true, and as a consequence, many of your patients may be dehydrated – a condition that leads to severe consequences if not identified and treated.
This newest article in the American Journal of Nursing New Look at the Old series provides current research about the hydration status of older adults across care settings and in the community, as well as a range of tools to improve your assessment skills, including a "Dehydration Risk Appraisal Checklist."
This and previous articles in the New Look at the Old print series can be accessed free of charge. Links to videos based on articles in the print series can also be found at: www.NursingCenter.com/AJNolderadults. Reprints of previous articles are available at no cost!
Katherine A. Kany | EurekAlert!
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