CHAPTER 1: DEHYDRATION
Scope of Problem
Dehydration is caused by either decreased fluid intake or increased fluid loss. It can be a serious acute condition in the elderly and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. In fact, dehydration is one of the ten most frequent diagnoses for hospitalization, with a higher mortality rate at 60 days than hip fracture.
Maintaining adequate hydration in the long term care population is a challenge. In older adults, dehydration is the most common fluid and electrolyte disturbance. For a variety of reasons, these individuals are at risk for developing dehydration, which if not recognized and treated promptly, can lead to the need for aggressive intervention in an acute care environment. Individuals between 85 and 99 years of age are six times more likely to be hospitalized for dehydration than those 65 to 69 years old. Transferring a resident to a hospital due to dehydration results in a loss of revenue for the LTC facility as well as a significantly higher price tag for treatment. The cost associated with potentially avoidable hospitalization due to dehydration has been estimated to be more than $1 billion annually. Additionally, transferring a resident is physically and emotionally disruptive, and subjects the resident to other potential complications associated with hospitalization.
Q: [LTC] - Long Term Care as a profession or a facility.