Hydration is essential for health; however, long-term care (LTC) residents consume less fluid than is recommended, which may contribute to dehydration. Residents who drink thickened liquids likely consume even less than peers. Therefore, the aims of this study were to (a) determine if LTC residents who drink thickened liquids consume less fluid compared to those consuming thin liquids and (b) determine factors associated with fluid intake of residents who drink thickened liquids.
Participants who drank thickened liquids (
n= 68) were compared with participants who drank thin liquids ( n= 68). Fluid intake, cognition, diet prescription, and mealtime challenges were compared between groups. A stepwise multiple regression model assessed variables associated with fluid intake of residents who consumed thickened fluids. Results:
All participants consumed less than recommended fluid volumes. No statistically significant difference was found in fluid intake between groups; however, the group consuming thickened liquids drank less than those consuming thin liquids. The thickened liquid group was also more likely to eat a modified diet, had higher levels of cognitive impairment, and had more mealtime challenges requiring more assistance. As age increased, thickened liquid intake decreased across study participants.
These results highlight the need for interventions in LTC to support fluid intake in this vulnerable population.