Ask the Care Expert about ... fluids for UTIs

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Sherrie Dornberger, RN, CDONA, FACDONA, Executive Director, NADONA
Sherrie Dornberger, RN, CDONA, FACDONA, Executive Director, NADONA

Some of my nurses believe that one way to assist with some UTI treatments is to increase fluids. What is your thought on increasing them?

Yes, extra fluids in addressing UTIs are a good idea, but it's an area we have always struggled with. We've had a juice cart, and also served small cups of beverages as residents were entering or leaving activities. 

During morning care, when the residents came back from the dining room and washed their hands, they were encouraged to drink more. However, we all know water is not an encouragement for some residents. 

Perhaps a juice would be more tempting. There is a new juice, Cranberry Health, that has a 4-ounce recommendation, and it is low in sugar for your diabetic residents. Not only would this juice assist with hydrating your residents, but it is also very helpful with reducing recurrent symptomatic UTIs by 40%, which would assist with your Antibiotic Stewardship committee, and decreasing the use of antibiotics.

I also would use the juice to make ice cubes or popsicles. The ice cubes made of juice would not water the juice down when they melt but make it taste better. The popsicles on warmer days make a perfect way to get that fluid in.

Consider a snow cone in a cup — pour some juice or iced tea over the crushed ice. Smoothies with some protein powder or fruit not only taste good, but many residents are in need of the protein, fluids and calories.

Make it fun and get the staff involved. Have funny cups and straws, or add some food coloring and then give the drinks their own name, like “Red Hot Mama!” for a red frozen drink. 

Get everyone involved. Sign up the administrator to serve smoothies from the cart one day or invite a local politician to a “Happy Hour” where he or she can serve. It can be a win for everyone!