Strategies to prevent dehydration in older people with dementia: A literature review
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Wilson, K. & Dewing, J. (2019) Strategies to prevent dehydration in older people with dementia: A literature review. Nursing Older People (In Press).
Dehydration is prevalent in hospitalised older people and residents in care homes, and older people with dementia are particularly at risk. A literature review was conducted to determine the evidence-based interventions used to prevent and manage dehydration in older people with dementia. Three databases were searched for relevant literature: Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, and MEDLINE, alongside hand-searching. In-depth reading of the 12 studies included in this literature review was undertaken. Five themes were identified in relation to the hydration of older people: physical and social environment; staff communication strategies; access to drinks; drinking vessels; and individual preferences. The evidence suggests that dehydration in older people with dementia is an ongoing concern that needs to be addressed. There is evidence supporting the use of essential nursing interventions to improve hydration, such as coloured cups and verbal prompts, but less is known about the barriers preventing nurses from implementing these evidence-based interventions.