‘8 to hydrate’ helps inform members of the public about staying hydrated

Members of the public joined health and social care professionals from across East Staffordshire last week in learning about staying hydrated at Queen’s Hospital in Burton that encouraged and informed them about the art of drinking well.

The ‘8 to hydrate’ event, organised by Virgin Care and Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust alongside partners South Staffordshire Water, East Staffordshire CCG, Staffordshire County Council and Age UK South Staffordshire, helped raise awareness of the early symptoms and signs of dehydration, particularly among older people or those living in care homes, and provided attendees with the knowledge they needed to help people stay well.

Members of the public and health professionals heard how the importance of staying hydrated – particularly for older people – cannot be underestimated. Dehydration can cause people to be more sleepy, unsteady on their feet and more likely to suffer falls but symptoms are often hard to recognise.

8tohydrateEach year, many older people in East Staffordshire end up requiring medical treatment or even hospital admission as a result of not drinking enough fluid throughout the day.

The event also offered information, advice and materials designed to encourage people to stay hydrated, including a drinks tracker people could take away and use to stay hydrated. There were presentations on what to drink to stay hydrated and techniques such as the best posture for older people to help fluid intake if they have swallowing difficulties.

People left feeling encouraged by the ‘8 to hydrate’ message to drink up to eight or more cups and/or glasses of fluid per day. Feedback from attendees was extremely positive. One person said it was “great to understand which cups are best to use [for older people to drink]” and another said they “now understand the effect ageing has on drinking”.

More than a 100 people attended including members of the public and health and social care professionals from a range of organisations and sectors.

Resources from the event are available on the Virgin Care website.

Gillian Rudge, Advanced Dietitian in East Staffordshire and led the running of the event, said: “8 to Hydrate is a simple message to raise awareness of this important health need and we are pleased so many people walked away encouraged to have eights cups or glasses of fluid per day.

“People, more commonly the elderly population, often have a decreased feeling of thirst as part of ageing and many of them are also unable to access drinks for themselves and rely on carers.  Our launch last week was able to give tips and ideas to people to help address some of the challenges with hydration.”

Julie Thompson, Senior Nurse for Older People at Burton Hospitals, said: “It is incredibly important that the public understand the importance of staying hydrated, particularly the elderly who are some of the more vulnerable members of society. This event and campaign has helped to provide people with the facts and how they can look after themselves and others.”

Virgin Care, a health and care provider with more than a decade of experience delivers the Improving Lives programme on behalf of the local NHS focused on joining-up and improving services for older people and those with long term conditions. The programme is designed to help keep people healthy, happy and living independently for as long as possible.

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