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Hospital hydration best practice toolkit

Reference number
Issue date25 August 2009

This online toolkit aims to encourage hydration best practice in hospitals. It provides practical advice for healthcare staff on minimising the risk and potential harm that poor hydration can cause, and offers solutions to improve the provision of water to hospital patients.

Good hydration is important for the safety and wellbeing of hospital patients. Medical evidence shows that it can assist in the management of a number of conditions including diabetes, pressure ulcers, constipation, urinary tract infections and kidney stones. Being well-hydrated also helps medicines to work more effectively and helps to combat the diuretic effect of some medication.

However, inadequate hydration can be a common problem in hospitals. Dehydration has been shown to double the mortality of patients admitted to hospital with a stroke, and increase the length of stay for patients with community-acquired pneumonia.

The toolkit has been developed by the National Reporting and Learning Service, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and Water UK. It contains the following information:

  • the health and economic benefits of providing water;
  • medical evidence about hydration and dehydration;
  • frequently asked questions;
  • facts about water;
  • practical tips for encouraging water consumption;
  • a sample menu for providing adequate fluids within healthcare; and
  • information about hospital guidance and standards.

Go to the Hospital Hydration Best Practice Toolkit on the RCN website