DRIE - Dehydration Recognition In our Elders
Dehydration – what is the problem?
Dehydration, when we don’t drink enough for our needs, is bad for all of us. In older people severe dehydration increases confusion and falls, and makes sudden hospital admission more likely. We don’t have a good method of recognising dehydration early, before it becomes severe. Being able to identify dehydration early would allow measures, such as extra encouragement with drinking, to prevent severe dehydration.
What will the research do?
This research aims to improve health and wellbeing of older people in the community
through optimising hydration status.
The specific objectives are to:
Identify an easy method that can signal when someone is in need of drinking more. We are doing this by interviewing people living in care homes who are interested in this study. During the interview we assessed whether the care home resident was drinking enough by assessing their hydration status (measuring serum osmolality). We also carried out a set of tests commonly used by health care staff to assess for hydration status in older people, including squeezing the skin on the back of the hand (skin turgor), looking for tongue furrows, and checking urine colour. Using this information from 200 older people we identified a 3-stage method for identifying when older people are not drinking enough. This is the DRIE study.
Check this new method. In the DRIE study we identified a 3-stage method for identifying when older people are not drinking quite enough. We have talked to our advisors living in care homes, and care home staff, to make sure that this method is acceptable and practical to use day to day in care homes. Now we are testing this new method to make sure it works really well at identifying dehydration before teaching it to others. This is the ongoing DRIE 2 study.
Find out more about the health effects of dehydration in people living in care homes. We are following up the people who took part in DRIE after one and two years to see what effect being dehydrated has on health, wellbeing and functional status.
Find out how we can help people living in care homes to drink more, and to prevent dehydration and its consequences. We are doing this by systematically reviewing the research carried out on how to help people in care homes. This is our systematic review on drinking.
Talking to people living in care homes, their families, friends and care staff about drinking. We want to understand why people living in care homes may not drink enough fluids to remain healthy, so we are inviting people to take part in a focus group (a focussed discussion) to talk about what they think is the Thinking About Drinking study.
Care home staff in our care homes will receive training in how to recognise the early stages of dehydration, and how to help older people to drink well. These care homes have taken part, or are taking part, in our research.
Who is funding the research?
This report is independent research arising from a Career Development Fellowship to Lee Hooper (NIHR-CDF-2011-04-025) supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The views expressed in this website and related publications are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the National Institute for Health Research or the Department of Health.