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“Water is a basic nutrient of the human body and is critical to human life”, World Health Organisation, Water, Sanitation & Health (WSA)
Nutrition and hydration are important issues in society which are closely associated with all aspects of health and wellbeing. Nutrition & Hydration Week (13-19 March) aims to highlight and promote nutrition and hydration locally, nationally and even globally.
As part of their ongoing aim to raise awareness of the need for good nutrition and hydration, staff from Bluebird Care (Southampton) visited Southampton General Hospital on Wednesday.
They had a lovely morning meeting and chatting with some of the patients on G8 elderly ward, as they handed out water, yoghurt drinks and fruit to those whose diet allowed. Bluebird Care (Southampton) would like to say a huge thank you to Emma, Wioleta and all the wonderful nursing staff for supporting their initiative during Nutrition & Hydration Week.
Older people can suffer increased water loss through thinner skin, especially when in a dry environment such as a hospital ward. Bernadette Mills, director of Bluebird Care Southampton, said, “30% of people who are admitted to hospital are dehydrated, so drawing attention to the importance of fluid intake and good nutrition to those most in need was a key driver for our visit to Southampton General Hospital during Nutrition & Hydration Week.”
Appetite reduces as people get older but it is important to eat enough and regularly, with small meals supplemented by tasty, nutrient-rich snacks. Eating a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight can help older people stay independent, able to enjoy a full and active life for as long as possible.
It has been proven that drinking at least 8 glasses of fluid a day can reduce illness, falls and infections, such as UTIs and pressure ulcers. As well as water, fluid can include tea, coffee, fruit juice, milk, hot chocolate and malted milk drinks. For those who don’t feel like drinking, try foods with a higher fluid content – for example, soup, breakfast cereal with milk, yoghurt and jelly. By making positive changes to eating and drinking habits, people can improve their quality of life.
Bluebird Care care assistants prepare healthy meals for their customers as part of individually tailored, person-centred care plans. They are also able to assist with shopping and trips out, getting up and going to bed, personal care and medication prompting.