LNWH urges patients to drink enough water

Elderly patients suffering dehydration are putting additional pressure on acute and emergency teams at Northwick Park Hospital.

The hospital is already experiencing a record number of attendances and admissions with the hot weather set to continue with temperatures climbing up towards 30C.

Dr Rachel Tennant, Clinical Lead for acute medicine, said: “The majority of patients coming into any hospital are  elderly so it’s a real concern.

“Dehydration leads to a host of problems including dizziness, falls and fainting episodes. We’ve also got patients presenting with vomiting due to constipation and urinary tract infections.

“Patients with chronic lung conditions are finding their sputum thicker and stickier leading to breathlessness. Patients with heart conditions who are on water tablets (diuretics) may also be at risk of dehydration."

Tell-tale signs include:

  • Feeling thirsty
  • Dark yellow and strong smelling pee
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Feeling tired
  • Dry mouth, lips and eyes
  • Peeing little, and fewer than 4 times a day

Dr Tennant said: “A good rule of thumb is to drink little and often and try and eat more food with a high water content, such as melon and soups. 

“If you have an elderly relative please keep an eye on them and make sure they are getting plenty of fluids. Yes, you end up going to the loo more but that is far better than being potentially hospitalized.”