Care home water drinking club

Care home water drinking club

This initiative by a care home in Suffolk helps keep elderly people healthy…

water dropHow refreshing to read this BBC report about The Martins care home in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, which in 2008 won an award for the best hydration practice in a care home.

The home set up a water drinking club and encouraged residents to drink more water.

Organised by the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) and the National Association of Care Catering (NACC) the competition was supported by Water UK and followed Anglian Water’s previous ‘Health On Tap’ campaign.

Improvements in health

The Martins care home saw significant improvements in health, including fewer falls, fewer GP call-outs, a reduction in the need for laxatives, fewer urinary tract infections, greater energy for residents and greater mental clarity.

As this report shows, “…the benefits recorded by the residents and witnessed by The Martins’ staff is testament to the widely held belief that water is the best health drink around.”

Residents kept water diaries and documented changes in their health. The project required just simple changes in habits for care staff and residents alike.

Water – essential for life

  • Every function in the human body relies on water to work properly, and dehydration puts health at serious risk.
  • Our brains are predominantly water, the human adult body is about 60% water, our lungs are 90% water, bone is 22% water and our blood is 83% water.
  • The human body needs water to digest food, to absorb nutrients and to expel waste.

It’s not surprising therefore that residents at The Martin’s saw dramatic improvements in their health.

The report continues: “There is nothing as important as water,” says Wendy Tomlinson, former nurse and manager of The Martins care home. “Since we started the scheme the whole place has been buzzing. The improvement in our residents has been incredible…””

This article on the Medical News Today website had more information.

Care homes can take the lead

If medical training continues to fail our doctors and nurses by not teaching them about nutrition and by instilling the notion that poor health can only be treated by complex and expensive science, these same doctors and nurses will, in turn, continue to compromise the health of elderly people. The medical profession will continue to ignore the fact that much chronic disease has one simple cause: dehydration and poor nutrition.

Successive governments talk about healthy eating as a way of encouraging better health, but little is done in practice to implement higher nutritional and hydration standards in care homes and hospitals.

It means however that there is a valuable opportunity for care homes here: They can take the lead in improving nutrition and hydration for residents – and reap the rewards of lower costs of care and a positive reputation.

If you have a good example to share of good hydration or nutrition by a care provider, please leave a comment below.

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