Dehydration Reduction in the Community Dwelling Older Adult: Perspectives of Community Health Care Providers

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Research in Gerontological Nursing


Aged, Content Analysis, Cross Sectional Studies, Dehydration -- Risk Factors, Descriptive Research, Fluid Intake, Focus Groups, Funding Source, Health Education, Interview Guides, New England, Questionnaires, Thematic Analysis, HumanCommunity Living, Dehydration -- Prevention and Control -- In Old Age

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Dehydration is a common problem among older adults and can negatively affect their health. This crosssectional descriptive study used survey findings and focus group interviews to investigate dehydration problems among community-dwelling older adults and to identify strategies perceived to be helpful in preventing dehydration in this population. The survey sample (n = 18) and four focus groups (n = 36) included health care providers in the northeast United States from provider agencies representing emergency care, home care, primary care, and community health care. Survey findings indicated that 89% of participantsidentify dehydration as a problem affecting older adults, and 94% noted the need for a public campaign on dehydration awareness and reduction. Four major themes emerged: Intentional Avoidance and Caution, Lack of Awareness/Education/Understanding, Poor Access to Fluids, and Social and Environmental Influences. Strategies identified to promote hydration in community-dwelling older adults included community partnerships, community education, community engagement, and interdisciplinary approaches. This study provides useful information and detailed strategies recommended by health care providers for designing interventions to promote hydration for community-dwelling older adults.