Innovative smart cup tackles the effects of dehydration in care homes

effects of dehydration

Aquarate explain the life-threatening effects of dehydration and introduce their Hydracup, aimed at improving quality of care for loved ones.

Britain’s ageing population is increasing. By 2050, one in four of us will be aged 65 or over, marking a global phenomenon. Dehydration is a huge problem within the elderly population, with 35% of individuals admitted into a care home being affected. In the UK alone, over 40,000 people are dying needlessly each year from the effects of dehydration within care.

Falls are one of the most frequent and serious injuries among the elderly. Each year, a third of over 65s fall at least once, costing the NHS £2.3bn annually for fragility fracture treatment.

Daimon Wheddon, the Area Clinical Lead at East of England Ambulance Service, said: “Fall-related calls make up a large percentage of the incidents we attend every day. We regularly see dehydration as a contributory factor in our elderly patients who have fallen; common effects of dehydration include low blood pressure, weakness and dizziness, all of which can increase the risk of falls.”

Falls are just one part of dehydration-related illnesses within care homes. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) also account for 20% of emergency hospital admissions, costing the NHS over £400m a year for treatment.

Of all emergency admissions from residential and nursing homes that lead to death, 41% are potentially avoidable. The three most common causes are pneumonia (12%), UTIs (8%) and fractures and sprains (8%); of which the two latter can be relieved by proper hydration levels.

In a country where there is unlimited access to safe drinking water, the number of deaths resulting from low hydration levels is shocking.

Fluid intake monitoring methods in care homes

Inadequate fluid intake is a major contributor to preventable dehydration. Inaccurate manual fluid paper charts have been used year after year within the care sector, despite being widely known as an ineffective tool. If staff are unaware how much each resident has had to drink, they rely on the resident remembering how much liquid they have consumed which can often be unreliable and can lead to discrepancies in the accuracy of fluid balance charts.

As the healthcare market continues the battle to keep up with the increasing demand and new pressures from COVID-19, remote fluid intake monitoring has never been more vital. An immense amount of added pressure has been put on care staff during the pandemic, with many workers feeling stress and anxiety to complete daily tasks, in addition to required paperwork and reporting.

Aquarate’s Hydracup

Aquarate’s mission is to reduce hydration-related illnesses and related preventable deaths. We have designed Hydracup with clinicians across care markets to increase patient safety.

Our new, innovative smart cup accurately monitors fluid intake, sip by sip. Our technology integrates with a multitude of care plans and patient softwares so all your data is in one place.

Hydracup is the only smart cup on the market which can produce accurate data that integrates into care systems, saving staff time, and delivering quality care. The Hydracup discreetly tracks an individual’s fluid intake by measuring liquid volume automatically, allowing caregivers to proactively support fluid intake to those who need it the most.

As well as recording fluid data, the Hydracup also allows you to see patterns and trends in a user’s drinking habits at the click of a button, helping you tailor care around an individual’s routine.

Benefits of the Hydracup

Using the Hydracup will reduce dehydration in end users across all care environments. Improving hydration health will improve residents’ mood, stimulate their appetite, and reduce disrupted sleep patterns. Ultimately, improved hydration levels will enable individuals to live more independently and reduce preventable hospital re-admissions, avoiding the associated trauma and recovery period.

Even mild dehydration (fluid loss of 1-3%) can impair energy levels and lead to major reductions in memory and brain performance. After properly hydrating over two days, you can often see a significant change in the mood, body function and spirit of that person.

Using Aquarate’s Hydracare technology not only improves the health and wellbeing of those in care but has the potential for substantial cost savings too. Automating the monitoring of hydration increases productivity savings by minimising the time spent on manually recording fluid intake on paper charts. With an average time of six minutes per resident, per day for recording hydration, staff can focus their efforts on other pressing caregiving tasks.

effects of dehydration

Get in touch

Hydracare is now available for use in your organisation or home environment. If you see the effects of dehydration first-hand through your work and are passionate about providing quality care and ensuring patients are properly hydrated, we would love you to join our team. We have several exciting opportunities currently available.

Also, if you are working in the hydration and malnutrition space, perhaps running studies or trials in this area, please get in touch as we would love to see how we could support.

Get involved

To help spread the word following our product launch and to start more conversations about dehydration, we will soon be running a webinar! We will be discussing hydration and COVID-19 recovery. If you are interested in speaking at the webinar to share your expertise on hydration or the COVID-19 virus, please get in touch. If you would like to join the webinar to hear more about the effects of hydration on recovery from the virus, go to our website to sign up.

Aquarate are also attending the ‘Dementia, Care and Nursing Home Expo’ at the NEC in Birmingham UK on 15 and 16 September and the Med-Tech Innovation Expo at the end of September.

This article is from issue 19 of Health Europa Quarterly. Click here to get your free subscription today.

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