Is there Legislation for Hydration in Care Home?
11th November 2019
Since 2008, the UK government has put laws and regulations in place to ensure all care homes across the country are meeting the nutritional and hydration needs of their patients. The Health and Social Care Act 2014 under the Care Quality Commission states that all care providers must ensure that their patients have enough to eat and drink to meet their nutritional and hydration needs.
Over 1,500 people have died from malnutrition and dehydration in UK care and nursing homes in the years 2003-12 showing the severity of not providing adequate hydration and nutritional solutions in the care industry. It is vital that all regulations are met to prevent any breach in the services provided and the risk of closure. There are many steps all care providers must take to comply with the latest regulations, including a full risk assessment and review of a patient’s needs and requirements, a food and drink strategy that addresses the nutritional needs of patients and the monitoring of food and drink intake.
As a healthcare worker or carer, it is important to ensure your patients receive adequate amounts of nutrition and hydration to prevent the risk of malnutrition, dehydration and hospitalisation. Hydration and nutrition is one of the most important aspects of providing care especially when providing a quality service to individuals.
The Regulations and Assessments
Everyone under the Health and Social Care Act Regulations must have their dietary and fluid needs included as part of their initial assessment. Here are the minimal requirements for each individual assessment:
- To support the agreed care and treatment and support ongoing good health.
- To manage all dietary intolerances, allergies and medication contraindications.
- To provide sufficient quantities of food and drink and support good health practices including the correct timing of meals.
- To support individual religious, cultural or ethical beliefs e.g. kosher, halal, vegetarian, vegan and any other preferences around food and drink.
- All care plans must draw from assessments in full and included all relevant nutritional and hydration information.
- To put in place the relevant systems to record and successfully monitor people’s intakes and identify when someone is at risk to help determine what intervention to take.
Using Care Management Software
To ensure all fluid and hydration needs are met, you can access electronic software systems that help you to easily assess new residents, make instant updates on a care file, schedule nutrition and fluid intake activities to individual care needs and create alerts for missed nutrition and fluid intake. Using care management software is a great way of protecting your patients and providing accurate and up-to-date records of their care plans.