I-Hydrate was a collaborative research project, which used service improvement methodology, and was undertaken at two privately operated North West London care homes in partnership with care home staff, residents and their carers and families. I-Hydrate aimed to optimise the hydration of residents in nursing homes, improve the quality and safety of care and decrease dehydration and the morbidity associated with it.
The study used quality improvement methods to develop and test interventions to extend drinking opportunities and choice in two care homes. Initial activity included observation of the systems for delivering fluids and involving staff, residents and carers in describing and mapping the organisation of care. An interactive training programme was indicated by staff as an important priority and was therefore introduced as a first step to improve hydration care. Subsequent interventions were co-designed with care staff and tested using Plan Do Study Act (PDSA) cycles.
Their efficacy was measured through data captured on the amount of fluids served and consumed, and staff and resident feedback. The long-term impact of the interventions was assessed by measuring daily laxative and antibiotic consumption, weekly incidence of adverse health events, and average fluid intake of a random sample of six residents captured monthly.
The link below shows the I-Hydrate presentation which summarises the project and its findings.