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Beat the Summer Heat… Keep your residents hydrated with an elite dietary software program

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The summer months are possibly the most enjoyable months for your residents as they relish the outside activities for fun in the sun; however, this may come with an added risk for fast decline in hydration.  Most facilities offer the routine hydration at meals and with activities but with increased heat exposure, fluid intake awareness is critical to maintain overall nutrition status and avoid a multitude of clinical problems.  Sadly, dehydration is a common health problem that prefaces larger situations such as low blood pressure, urinary tract infections, falls and wounds.

The Adult & Geriatric Institute, The Department on Aging, The Department of Health, The European Review of Aging and Physical Activity and The Hydration for Health Initiative, offer overwhelming statistics about dehydration in seniors.  These include increased mortality rates, impaired cognition leading to falls, poor skin integrity, all potentially leading to emergent hospitalization situations if not dealt with promptly.

Residents are more prone to risk of fluid loss as a result of medications they may be taking which leads to increased fluid loss, normal aging process limiting kidney function or underlying health conditions making them less able to adapt to heat, decreased mobility, incontinence (or fear of), reduced capacity to access fluids themselves, and reduced communication.

An advanced dietary software program can assist in avoiding these risks.  The addition of an elite nutrition management system, such as MealTracker, can help provide detailed instructions to caregivers on meeting hydration needs of your residents.

The steps you can take using MealTracker to reduce your residents’ risk for dehydration include:

  1. Select Menu options can support detailed beverage preferences for improved intake.
  2. Tray Tickets can be printed to offer detailed beverage preference, exact measurement of fluids required at mealtime, at least 2 -6oz per meal is recommended unless contraindicated.
  3. Beverage Labels can be generated to offer fluids between meals and with all activities.
  4. Diet Order Interface can communicate additional comments regarding fluid needs such as to keep water at bedside unless contraindicated with fluid restriction or swallowing condition.
  5. Tray Notes section can allow customizable notes to caregivers to offer water bottles for mobile residents, and to refill often.
  6. A Beverage report can be run and added to a Hydration Station where fluids are visible and accessible for caregivers and a great reminder to residents.
  7. Resident Intake of fluids can be captured and documented using Intake reports by meal, location, and resident to calculate fluids consumed.
  8. Recipe building capability can allow for unique high fluid content foods such as homemade smoothies, favorite “mocktail” concoctions, and tasty recipes with fruit and vegetables with high fluid content.

MealTracker reduces your risk for regulatory tags related to hydration at your facility by:

F327 – providing each resident with sufficient fluid intake to maintain proper hydration and health.

F279 – providing documented interventions to develop a plan of care with measurable goals and interventions to address the care and treatment for hydration needs, in accordance with the assessment, resident’s wishes, and current standards of practice.

MealTracker can support your resident’s hydration needs this summer and keep your facility out of the heat of regulatory compliance!

Amy Wootton

Amy Wootton, RDN, is a registered dietitian licensed in the state of Florida with over 18 years of experience in clinical nutrition leadership for senior communities as well as acute care, food service management, nutrition informatics, and wellness education. Amy is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, was appointed Vice Chair on the Interoperability and Standards Committee, and is the leader of the Academy’s Nutition Care Process Workgroup. Amy most recently accepted a Leadership Award from the Florida Academy of Dietetics. She has achieved years of diversified experience in all spectrums and disease improvement and prevention throughout each lifespan. Amy is a dedicated leader and is passionate about the success of nutrition interventions as an electronic solution to healthcare crisis’.