Should dehydration in older people be a marker of lack of quality in long term care provision?

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Abstract

Purpose
– The purpose of this paper is to consider whether dehydration in older people should be used as a marker of lack of quality in long-term care provision.

Design/methodology/approach
– The piece examines the assumed relationship between dehydration and the quality of care, and then considers the factors that can lead to dehydration in older people.

Findings
– Even with the best care, older people, in the absence of a sense of thirst, and for fear of urinary accidents, difficulties getting to the toilet or choking, may choose to drink less than would be ideal for their health. While good care supports older people to minimise these problems, it also respects older people making their own decisions around when, what and how much to drink. It appears that dehydration may sometimes be a sign of good care, as well as arising from poor care.

Social implications
– Residential care homes should not be stigmatised on the basis of their residents being dehydrated, but rather helped to explore whether they are achieving an appropriate balance between care and quality of life for their residents.

Originality/value
– This discussion may be of use to those living in, working in, managing or assessing residential care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-236
Number of pages5
JournalQuality in Ageing and Older Adults
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Older adults
  • DEHYDRATION
  • residential care
  • Long-Term Care
  • quality of care
  • Policy

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