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Support individuals to have access to fluids in accordance with their plan of care

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

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Regular fluid intake is necessary for the body to function correctly and, as a care worker, you have a duty of care to the individuals that you support to ensure that they are sufficiently hydrated.

Care plans

Each individual that you care for will have their own personal care plan and within it will be information about their hydration requirements. It is important that you provide access to fluids in accordance with each individual’s documented needs and preferences because a lack of fluid can result in dehydration which can have a severe impact on their health.

Refreshing drinks and ensuring they are within reach

For individuals that have restricted movement or mobility, it may be necessary to ensure that regularly refreshed drinks are within easy reach. This means placing drinks in a place where they can easily and comfortably pick them up and set them down. For some individuals, you may also have to support them to drink and record their intake and output on fluid charts.

Unless there are medical reasons to restrict fluid intake, you should ensure that an individual’s access to drinks is maintained at all times.

Supporting and encouraging

Some individuals may need reminding or encouragement to drink. For example, individuals with dementia may forget to drink or believe they have recently had one. An individual that suffers from anxiety may not drink because they are too worried. It is your responsibility to ensure that you do your best to encourage regular fluid intake to promote the individual’s health.

An important way of promoting hydration is to make sure that an individual has access to the types of drinks that they like. Although water is the best source of fluid, there are many individuals that do not like to drink water and so alternatives such as squash, tea and coffee should be made available. The individual’s preferences should be documented in their care plan.

It is essential to remember that each individual has their own unique needs and you should also promote independence where possible and not restrict an individual from performing tasks, such as making themselves a drink. Wherever it is safe to do so individuals should be encouraged to do as much as possible for themselves. Simple adaptions, such as providing an individual with a straw, can help them to maintain independence.

If you have any concerns about an individual’s fluid intake (for example, if they do not appear to be drinking very much or are displaying signs or symptoms of dehydration), you should report it to your manager as soon as possible as well as making a record of your concerns.

There may be times that you need to report your concerns to others, such as an individual’s family member or carer. This should be done sensitively and you should provide all the facts. You should also offer any support you can.

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