Dehydration is a common concern for elderly people, especially those living in long-term care facilities. In fact, an estimated 12-25 percent of seniors in hospice care are dehydrated. And just over 50 percent of patients admitted to hospitals with dehydration come from long-term care facilities.
Elderly people are also the most likely to suffer from pressure ulcers and other chronic wounds, and unfortunately, dehydration can delay the healing process for these people.
How Hydration Heals Pressure Ulcers
A lack of water in the body increases the risk for developing chronic wounds, a fact which makes preventing dehydration even more important for elderly adults. For instance, the physical effects of dehydration -- lowered energy and dizziness, among others – can increase the risk for falls, which can lead to the development of pressure ulcers.
Plus, dehydration increases the chance for infection of chronic wounds, because the body uses water to carry nutrients to the site of the wound and eliminate waste. Thus, dehydration can delay vital nutrients from getting to a wound, which slows the healing process.
Water is also important in the growth of new tissue to repair wounds. Here’s why: Water is one of the main components of cells, and when the body is deprived of water, the development of new cells and growth of new tissue slows down. Put another way, dehydration delays healing and increases the risk for infection.
Healing Wounds Require More Water
Elderly adults with chronic wounds are also at a heightened risk of developing dehydration for a few reasons. First, the body needs more fluids when healing wounds or battling infection. For example, fluids are lost when a wound is draining, and therefore, the body requires more fluids to stay hydrated.
Additionally, infections can be accompanied by fever, which can speed up the loss of fluids through sweat. Also, lifestyle and environmental factors can speed up the loss of fluids.
Some medications used to treat pressure ulcers, for instance, may have a diuretic effect. This causes more frequent trips to the restroom and speeds up the loss of fluids in the body. A high-protein diet, which is prescribed for some patients to aid in healing, also increases the body’s fluid requirements.
How DripDrop Can Help Those Suffering from Pressure Ulcers
It’s clear that proper hydration is essential for elderly adults suffering from chronic wounds. But sometimes just drinking water isn’t enough to prevent dehydration.
For one, elderly adults experience diminished thirst, and therefore, they don’t always drink enough fluids voluntarily. Additionally, seniors have lower levels of water in the body, which allows dehydration to set in faster.
DripDrop combats dehydration in a few different ways. For cases of mild and moderate dehydration, DripDrop and other oral rehydration solutions are as effective as traditional IVs.
Here’s why: The ratio of sugar and salt in DripDrop, for example, speeds up the absorption of water into the bloodstream. Plus, the sodium in DripDrop promotes greater fluid retention.
Preventing and healing chronic wounds requires proper hydration, which makes DripDrop an essential in the care of elderly patients.