Tips on Promoting Food and Fluid Intake in the Elderly
Journal of Gerontological Nursing (Impact Factor: 1.02). 12/1991; 17(11):44-6. DOI: 10.3928/0098-9134-19911101-11
Nurses have a crucial role in ensuring adequate food and fluid intake in the elderly. Nurses can improve the nutritional intake of their elderly patients by obtaining proper nutritional assessments, addressing risk factors for malnutrition and fluid deficit, providing enough staff and volunteers to help feed impaired patients, honoring each older person's meal pattern, scheduling drug regimens that do not interfere with food and fluid intake, not scheduling food-related activities and visits too near mealtime, serving food that is palatable and attractively served, ensuring adequate fluid intake, and being creative in finding ways to keep the restless, wandering patient well-nourished and hydrated. Monitoring food and fluid intake requires precise recording of what foods and fluids the older person is ingesting, keeping accurate intake and output records, determining periodic weights, informing the physician of patients' weight loss in a timely manner, and instituting corrective measures at once.
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ABSTRACT: Adequate hydration in older adults is a common yet complex problem requiring a comprehensive approach. Facility-wide involvement is critical for the success of a hydration program. This article addresses a systematic, three-dimensional strategy with administration, clinical staff, and in-service education activities. An assessment tool, administrative and education guidelines, and a “creative brainstorming” sheet are provided for the nursing home facility interested in initiating a program for the prevention of dehydration and promotion of adequate hydration.
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ABSTRACT: The fluid intake of 57 elderly male and female patients, drawn from psychogeriatric, long-term care and geriatric admission units, was monitored. The fluid intake was determined by direct observation and recording of fluids consumed by each subject over three 24-hour periods. In all cases, regardless of the unit, level of dependency, cognitive or continence status, elderly patients received considerably less fluid than the recommended daily intake of 2000-2500 ml. In the case of patients who were cognitively impaired, dependent and incontinent, fluid intake was less than patients who did not have these impediments. Forty-seven nurses, working on the three units, completed a self-administered questionnaire on the fluid needs of elderly patients. Generally, nurses' knowledge was inadequate in a number of areas such as the signs and complications of dehydration and the fluid requirements of the elderly. A study of this size does not permit general conclusions to be drawn. Nonetheless, if the results are indicative of current practice, nurses do not have a good knowledge of the fluid needs of the elderly, and the low level of fluid intake constitutes a form of neglect.
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