Water is essential for life, and maintaining the correct balance of fluid in the body is crucial to health (Welch, 2010). However, according to a report from the Care Quality Commission (2011), some patients are not being given enough water to drink. The report suggests fluids are being left out of reach, or are not being given at all for long periods. This is unacceptable, and we believe nurses should understand our responsibility around fluid balance.
This is why we have developed our brand new Fluid Balance program, as part of our Clinical Basics range of courses. It provides an overview of fluid balance, including what fluid balance is, and how and why and how it should be measured.
Assessing fluid balance is as important as our other vital signs – temperature, pulse, blood pressure and respiratory rate. Providing fundamental care to ensure that our patients and residents receive adequate hydration is an essential part of basic nursing care. Many of our patients and residents rely on us for the maintenance of this essential body function to sustain life.
Ensuring that our patients and residents are achieving a balance between adequate fluid intake and appropriate fluid output is achieved by maintaining an accurate record of fluid intake, fluid output and constantly assessing the balance between the two.
In this program, we revisit the basics around fluid regulation and the nurse’s role in ensuring the patient/resident maintains an appropriate level of hydration. This program revisits the basics around fluid regulation and the nurse’s role in ensuring the patient/resident maintains an appropriate level of hydration, including physiology, assessment and charting.
Our new fluid balance program is just the first of a new suite of programs we will be bringing out over the next few months. Make sure you’re following us on facebook & on our mailing list so you’re the first to find out when the next new program is released!
Care Quality Commission (2011) Dignity and Nutrition for Older People: Review of Compliance. London: CQC. tinyurl.com/QCQ-worcestershire
Welch K (2010) Fluid balance. Learning Disability Practice ; 13: 6, 33-38.