Care home reaches diamond standard for hydration support

Vicky Wicks (centre) presenting Briarcroft's hydration champions with their diamond award.

Published: 9 November 2023

A Teignmouth care home has gained a diamond award for the way they embraced a project that is reducing hospital admissions by highlighting the importance of good hydration.

Briarcroft Care Home have been working with community dietitians from Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust on how best to support residents to stay hydrated.

The project, which supports nursing and residential homes across Torbay and south Devon, provides training, support and sees the homes appoint hydration champions who receive advanced training to support the implementation of initiatives.

Briarcroft have been presented with a diamond award for the way the whole team and residents embraced the key messages of the project and how they have implemented ideas and initiatives.

Some of these have included themed and seasonal structured drinks rounds throughout the year, greater variety of fluids available, more detailed documentation and fluid intake monitoring, and greater staff awareness.

Many older people don’t feel thirsty and need extra support to stay hydrated. Therefore, people in residential or nursing homes can be more likely to experience falls or illnesses such as urinary tract infections as a direct result of dehydration.

In an 18-month period, the number of falls in homes involved in the project saw a dramatic decrease in dehydration-related hospital admissions. The number of falls requiring hospital admission fell by 63% and incidences of urinary tract infections requiring antibiotics were reduced by 18.5%.

Vicky Wicks, Specialist Clinical Community Dietitian and hydration project lead at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The enhanced health in care homes hydration project has been hugely successful in care and nursing homes across Torbay and south Devon.

“The project has a multi-component approach to improving hydration through the delivery of whole care home hydration training for care staff, nomination of hydration champions to implement advice and recommendations and an evidenced based recommendation of seven structured drinks rounds throughout the day.

“We know dehydration is linked to poorer health outcomes. The aim of the project is to reduce the number of urine infections, falls and hospital admissions through the promotion of good hydration.

“Briarcroft Care Home has been exemplary in their commitment and implementation of the project, their hydration champions have fully engaged with us and evidently applied advice and recommendations in their home. I am so pleased that as a result of participating in this project, Briarcroft has seen a reduction in the number of UTIs and falls, which ultimately has improved the quality of life for those in their care.”

Edith Nortje, Registered Manager at Briarcroft Care Home, said: “Since joining the hydration project we have seen a massive improvement in our clients. The project changed the way we work with people living with dementia, and we are able to encourage a variety of different drinks in a fun environment with our hydration trolley. Massive thanks to Vicky and her team.”

If you work in a residential or care home in Torbay and South Devon and would like to get involved with the programme, please contact Vicky Wicks, Hydration Project Lead Dietitian.