Don’t wait, hydrate!

The trust is highlighting the need for its staff to be aware of the amount of fluids they are drinking while at work, as part of an upcoming awareness week. Next week the trust will be marking Dietitians Week by going out into clinical areas and reminding staff about the importance of being properly hydrated.

Failing to drink regularly can lead to headaches, tiredness, poor concentration, loss of appetite, a lack of energy, nausea and a dry mouth, lips and eyes.

Over the course of the week, the trust’s dietitians will be holding a promotional stand at the University Hospital of North Tees where people are welcome to visit and ask questions.

Dietitians will also be joined by staff in the catering and health and wellbeing teams in visiting the hospital’s orthopaedic wards. As a pilot initiative, ward hostesses in these areas will be encouraging staff to regularly drink fluids throughout the week.

Vanessa Partridge, a senior dietitian at the trust, said: “The importance of hydration is often overlooked. Water is needed for a number of different functions in the body, from transporting water-soluble nutrients around the body, helping regulate our body temperature, to helping us digest our food. It is recommended that we drink between 8-10 200ml glasses of water per day, but many of us are not drinking enough.

“Dehydration can lead to symptoms such as headaches, fatigue and poor concentration levels, which may affect how effective we are at work. For those working in a care environment within the NHS, this could affect the quality of care that our patients receive. Fluids should be taken regularly throughout the day. Caffeinated drinks should be kept to a minimum and lower sugar drinks should be chosen over full-sugar products.

“An initiative is underway that aims to provide staff the opportunity to drink more fluid; ward hostesses are to offer healthy drinks at regular intervals throughout the day and record how many drinks they give out. Our aim is to have a healthier workforce to optimise care for our patients.”

What types of drinks are good?

• To keep yourself well hydrated during the day, it is best to drink little and often, rather than waiting until you are really thirsty and then drinking large quantities
• Drinks that contain caffeine – such as tea, coffee and cola – can act as mild diuretics. This means that they trigger the body to produce more urine, increasing fluid loss. Drinking some of these drinks each day is fine, but they should be balanced with fluids that don’t contain caffeine.
• Also, check the sugar content of your drinks and avoid drinking too many high-sugar drinks. Choose sugar-free versions instead.

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