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An Innovative Approach to Adequate Oral Hydration in an Inpatient Geriatric Psychiatry Unit

Maureen Smith, Regina Velasco, Sooraj John, Ryan Scott Kaufman, Elizabeth Melzer
Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services 2019 April 1, 57 (4): 15-20
Suboptimal hydration status and dehydration are problems that often exacerbate comorbid conditions in geriatric patients. At a Veterans Administration Hospital, it was observed that suboptimal hydration status in Veterans hospitalized in the geriatric psychiatry unit was a contributing factor in the worsening of their psychiatric and medical conditions. A quality improvement project was chartered to improve hydration in this group of patients. Using a three-pronged intervention approach (i.e., providing flavored water, providing larger cups, and increasing the prompting by nurses for patients to drink more), the project was successful. The goal was to increase average daily fluid intake by 125 mL; the result was an increase of 700 mL. This project has been sustained and the interventions have also benefitted non-geriatric psychiatry in-patients. [Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, 57(4), 15-20.].


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