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Res Gerontol Nurs. 2009 Jan;2(1):49-57. doi: 10.3928/19404921-20090101-01.

Dehydration reduction in community-dwelling older adults: perspectives of community health care providers.

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Department of Nursing, School of Health and Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts 01854-5126, USA.


Dehydration is a common problem among older adults and can negatively affect their health. This cross-sectional 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 participants identify 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.

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