Poor fluid intake is a complex and long-standing issue in residential care, further exacerbated by COVID-19 infection control procedures. There is no consensus on how best to prevent dehydration in residents who vary in their primary reasons for insufficient fluid intake for a variety of reasons. The objectives of this research were to determine expert and provider perspectives on: (1) how COVID-19 procedures impacted hydration in residential care and potential solutions to mitigate these challenges and (2) strategies that could target five types of residents based on an oral hydration typology focused on root causes of low fluid intake.
Qualitative study based on virtual group discussion. The discussion was audiorecorded with supplementary field notes. Qualitative content analysis was completed.
27 invited researcher and provider experts.
Challenges that have potentially impacted hydration of residents because of COVID-19 procedures were categorised as resident (eg, apathy), staff (eg, new staff) and home-related (eg, physical distancing in dining rooms). Potential solutions were offered, such as fun opportunities (eg, popsicle) for distanced interactions; training new staff on how to approach specific residents and encourage drinking; and automatically providing water at meals. Several strategies were mapped to the typology of five types of residents with low intake (eg, sipper) and categorised as: supplies (eg, vessels with graduated markings), timing (eg, identify best time of day for drinking), facility context (eg, identify preferred beverages), socialisation (eg, promote drinking as a social activity) and education (eg, educate cognitively well on water consumption goals).
COVID-19 has necessitated new procedures and routines in residential care, some of which can be optimised to promote hydration. A variety of strategies to meet the hydration needs of different subgroups of residents can be compiled into multicomponent interventions for future research.