Falls due to dehydration have reduced by 33% at one care home group by using Mobile Care Monitoring to evidence and monitor fluids.
Dehydration is one of the most common causes of moving someone from a nursing home to hospital. The NHS says older people over 75 are most at risk of dehydration during a heatwave. A quarter of all nursing home patients that are admitted to hospital are dehydrated and often have UTIs and have suffered falls – many of which are avoidable through good hydration.
Paper charts can be insufficient for monitoring fluids
The Government recommends that all adults including the elderly drink at least 1.6L (for women) and 2.0L (for men). It is a health and social care requirement that people at risk of dehydration have their fluids are monitored year-round in care homes. However, paper based fluid charts make it difficult to monitor fluid intake during the day, and finding out that someone hasn’t drunk enough fluids only at the end of their day is not helpful, and can lead to insufficient hydration.
The solution: monitoring fluids in real time
Advances in technology have made monitoring fluids in real-time a reality. By monitoring people’s intake of fluids in real-time, care homes can immediately see which residents have not had sufficient fluids and can take appropriate action.
In April 2017, at one care home group, 20% of the residents appeared to have drunk under the 1.5 litres daily fluid intake, which had been set as a daily hydration target.
Within a month of implementing electronic fluid monitoring, the care home group had reduced the number of people with possible hydration issues to four a day (out of 500 residents). Furthermore, falls had reduced by 33% since they started monitoring dehydration and residents were drinking on average 400 mls more than the daily target of 1.5 litres.
Electronic evidence of care is an intuitive and productive way to monitor fluids accurately and ensure good hydration among the elderly in care homes. Mobile Care Monitoring is a sophisticated system for guaranteeing that each staff member involved in monitoring fluids is given information appropriate to, and at the right time for, their role.
The fluid offered to people and the amount of fluid drunk in milliliters is simply evidenced at the point of care delivery on mobile devices. Reminders to offer drinks can be set up as part of a planned care routine, with a traffic light system of flags to alert care staff to when a care task is due or if it hasn’t been done within a window of time.
Fluid evidence automatically populates a fluid watch dashboard tile displaying how much a person has been offered to drink and how much has been drunk in the last 24 hours, highlighted red to show when the person has fallen below their fluid threshold for the rolling 24-hour period. If any drinks are requested or offered that are not in the planned routine, they can be evidenced just as easily and will also immediately update the fluid watch dashboard tile. The fluid watch dashboard tile displays the most up-to-date information to every member of staff evidencing care on a mobile device, and staff monitoring care on their laptop, tablet or computer, no matter where they are working from. This ensures that every person’s total fluid intake is known by everyone involved in their care, so if more fluids are needed, they can be offered by staff in a timely way.
If a care home is part of a group, an additional audit solution, Group Reporting, is used for high level auditing of compliance, occupancy, and safeguarding across each location. This includes highlighting when people haven’t received enough fluids.
Electronic evidence of care and care planning gives care homes the ability to much more accurately evidence and monitor fluids to reduce dehydration among their residents. The ability to analyse the data collected has a significant impact on people’s well-being by avoiding falls and other complications caused by dehydration; improving care; reducing hospital admissions; and providing greater peace of mind for loved ones that their relatives or friends are receiving the highest quality of care.