Hi! Today's Thirsty Thursday and I have a very topical question for all you guys out there working in social care who are supporting ladies and gents and trying to improve their fluid intake as mush as possible.
We all know what the potential effects of dehydration are for our elderly and vulnerable loved ones. We know that it can lead to:
- UTI's (urinary tract infections)
- AKI's (acute kidney injury)
- Pressure ulcers
- Unnecessary hospital admissions.
So we are all really conscious about wanting to improve the hydration levels or our ladies and gents but I want to ask you a question,
How much do you consider your ladies and gents' drinking experience when encouraging hydration?
And I would like you to think about what your own preferences are when you're having a drink.
At the weekend, after a 12 mile walk in the Yorkshire Dales, I visited a cafe for a well earned cup of tea and was mesmerised by the man behind the bar who was showing a new team member how to make G&T. So much love went into the preparation of this drink, loads of ice, cucumber, berries and a slice of lime before any beverage was even poured into the glass, it was a work o art! And I complimented him on the presentation. He responded:
I believe in the French theory that we both eat and drink with our eyes first and i want to make every single aspect of my customers' drinking experience pleasurable, which includes how it looks.
And this really got me thinking. You probably have all got your own favourite mug that you like, now that might be short and stumpy and really thick ceramic or it might be you might prefer to drink out of a china cup. When you have your favourite tipple, I guarantee that part of the experience for you is about the glass which your drink is served in, you may like a long tall tumbler or you may prefer a big bowl wine glass or the latest goldfish bowl star gin and tonic glass.
Whatever is I bet you've got your favourites and I want to ask you today how often you think about your residents drinking experience itself when you serve their drinks to them in?
I've been in this business for nearly 30 years and as far as I know the plastic bfh 250 200 mil graduated feeder beaker with handles, with spout, has been around for as long as I have, and I guess it preceded me, and actually our customers really don't like them and always comment that they discolour when they get tea stains in them.
Also they're now no longer recommended for hot drinks because of the risk of a burn when picking them up but people continue to order them.
I've said many time that it's actually my life mission to rid the industry of this feeder beaker because I don't like it, I don't think it's a very dignified cup and the handles themselves aren't really supported for somebody who's got arthritis and struggles with their grip. For somebody who has a dementia and put giving them clear liquid in a clear glass may not be encouraging good levels of hydration as they will really struggle to see it, with there being a lack of contrast.
I always ask myself, would I want my Mum drinking out of this beaker? And the simple answer is no I wouldn't, so if it's not good enough for my mum why is it good for good enough for anybody else?
So I wanted to pose that question to you, have you thought about what your residents' preference would be like? What what they might, like what are their favourite colours? If you can get a glass or a cup that's a favourite colour that they're attracted to, it will encourage them to pick up and drink more, also translucent bright colours like the purple one in the video are really good because you can still see the liquid that's inside and it will help to measure how much they're actually drinking. Again for residents with a dementia putting that in their line of vision it's going to attract their attention and encourage them to pick up more and drink.
I know this from my own experience with my Mum who has a red glass that she uses for her water or her tonic water. It's also thinking about what they might like to drink, what are their preferences drinks wise, because again if you're giving residents drinks that they really like and enjoy then they're going to be drinking more, you'll be able to get more fluids into them and help with their hydration levels.
For me personally I have to say a wineglass is my is my glass of choice. When I go out, I'm choosing a bottle of sparkling water with ice and a slice of lemon, I always ask "Can I have it served in a wineglass?" because for me that's really important as part of the experience and I will enjoy it more as part of that experience.
So happy Thirsty Thursday everybody, cheers!
And please, have a think about the drinking vessels that you've got for your residents at the moment are they fit for purpose are they encouraging the maximum levels of hydration they can and if you'd like to have a look at the options that we have please head over to our website and the Independent Eating and Drinking Solutions area.
You can also order your free copy of the 34-page Dignified Dining Solutions Guide for more tips and tools.