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Res Gerontol Nurs. 2017 Nov 1;10(6):260-266. doi: 10.3928/19404921-20171013-03.

Dehydration of Older Patients in Institutional Care and the Home Environment.


Dehydration in older adults is an important clinical problem associated with more comorbidities, longer hospital stays, and higher mortality rates. However, in daily clinical practice, no single gold standard marker of hydration status in older adults is available. The aim of the current study was to define the fluid balance status in older adults residing in institutional care or the home. Four hundred ten patients (192 from institutional care and 218 from home care) 65 and older from the region of lower Styria (Slovenia) were included in the study. Serum osmolality, electrolytes, and blood urea nitrogen to creatinine (BUN:Cr) ratio were used to identify dehydration. Statistically significant differences were found between groups in serum osmolality and BUN:Cr ratio. Moreover, dehydration (defined as increased serum osmolality) was significantly more common in patients in institutional care than home care (51% versus 41.3%, respectively). The results confirm that dehydration is a common clinical problem in older adults, especially in those from institutional care. Although many methods of determining hydration status in older adults have been proposed, no gold standard exists, making hydration evaluation difficult in this population. [Res Gerontol Nurs. 2017; 10(6):260-266.].

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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