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Poor hydration has been shown to be a contributing factor to tiredness, obesity, depression and inactivity. It has also been shown to be a factor which prolongs healing and recovery.

The evidence suggests that good hydration can prevent constipation, kidney stones, blood pressure problems, headaches and pressure sores and can help prevent falls.

There is some evidence to suggest that dehydration can increase mortality in stroke patients and prolong hospital stays for patients with community-acquired pneumonia.

To ensure that the people you care for are hydrated properly it is important to:-

Encourage them to drink regularly throughout the day. The Food Standards Agency recommends a daily intake of six to eight glasses of water or other fluids.

Make sure that you and other carers receive training and information about the benefits of good hydration to the people who use services, and encourage peer-to-peer learning.

Provide promotional materials to remind people who use services, staff and carers of the importance of hydration.

Ensure that everyone has access to clean drinking water 24 hours a day.

Some people are reluctant to drink water, it is important to consider other ways to increase their fluid intake, either with other drinks, or foods that have higher fluid content, maybe breakfast cereals with milk or soup.

In some cases a person may be reluctant to drink any fluids because they are concerned about incontinence, it is important to reassure them that they will have help with going to the toilet. It may be helpful to make sure that they take fluids earlier in the day and do not drink too much before bedtime.

Urine colour can be an indication of the level of hydration pale urine indicates good hydration. Dark, strong-smelling urine could be an indicator of poor hydration, however, this could be due to other reasons that should be investigated.