Royal Voluntary Service and other leading Welsh charities and older people’s groups are uniting to support a major campaign led by the Welsh NHS to encourage people to keep well by staying hydrated.
Royal Voluntary Service, Age Cymru and Care and Repair Cymru have joined the Older People’s Commissioner and Brecon Carreg water as key partners for the Water Keeps You Well campaign, which is addressing the issue of dehydration – particularly among older patients in hospitals.
Running throughout March and led by Public Health Wales, the campaign is promoting the role of hydration in managing and preventing many health conditions that can cause harm and distress.
Across Wales, pro-hydration messages are being displayed throughout hospital settings and on social media to encourage people to support their loved ones in hospital to stay hydrated.
If undetected, the effects of dehydration can be serious and rapid. Mild dehydration can contribute to confusion, falls, pressure ulcers and urine infections. Serious dehydration can cause a person’s condition to deteriorate rapidly, resulting in clinical interventions.
The Water Keeps You Well campaign is also being supported by Drink Wise Age Well Cwm Taf – which works to tackle the issue of alcohol intake among over 50s.
The campaign will culminate in Wales’s first ‘Quench Your Thirst-Day’ on March 10, when all partners and supporters will take part in hydration challenges and pledge to promote the importance of good hydration to their networks and communities.
“Staying hydrated is vital to keep our bodies functioning properly, particularly for older people who are more prone to dehydration. Factors such as stress, medication or loss of thirst all play a key part in older people not drinking enough liquid in hospital. Our volunteers on wards can support patients by having a chat and encouraging them to drink and keep hydrated, which in turn helps to keep any further health complications at bay.”
Sam Ward, Service Director of West England and Wales
“For people in our hospitals, especially older people, dehydration can have devastating long-term effects, but it can be prevented. Evidence shows good hydration can help in the management and prevention of many conditions and this campaign aims to ensure people know that drinking keeps you well.”
Prof. Jean White, Chief Nursing Officer for Wales
“While easy to prevent, dehydration is still an issue for too many older people receiving care and support in our hospitals and can have a significant impact on their health and wellbeing.
“The Water Keeps You Well campaign will play a key role in helping to tackle dehydration in our hospitals, not only by raising awareness about its impact, but also by providing practical resources for patients and staff that will support them to manage hydration more effectively.”
Sarah Rochira, the Older People’s Commissoner for Wales
As part of the campaign, older patients at a number of hospitals across Wales will be asked to sign a Water Keeps You Well hydration charter and pledge to drink a pre-agreed number of drinks each day. People who make the pledge will be given an innovative ‘drink dial’ to help them keep track of the drinks they’ve had throughout the day.
The campaign will help people to recognise when they are thirsty; it will breakdown the fear some people have of becoming a “burden” on hospital staff by needing help to go to the toilet and will address the fact that some people are not used to drinking lots during the day.
It will also encourage families and visitors to bring bottles of their loved ones’ favourite drink to hospital instead of flowers or other gifts to reinforce the stay hydrated message.