« Make healthy hydration the new norm »

Chapter 2: Assessing hydration during dietitian’s daily practice


One method of assessing drinking behavior is by asking individuals to record their beverage intake during the day, reporting also details such as the quantity of beverages, any additions (sugar, syrup, etc.) as well as parallel activities undertaken while drinking. Recording fluid intake is important to understand the types of fluids consumed as well as their caloric contribution to daily energy intake. For instance, caffeine and alcohol intake are important due to their diuretic effect while high intakes of sugar-sweetened beverages have been related to obesity, particularly in children.

In order to make fluid recommendations, it is important collecting valid information from individuals. Estimating the exact quantity of fluids consumed can be challenging, as the same quantity of fluids looks different when added into different shapes of glassware.

When people are thirsty, they are already dehydrated. Providing practical advice, consider individual preferences, create a water-friendly environment and provide assistance when needed, can contribute towards enhancing fluid intake, particularly in older people. For mildly dehydrated older people in long-term care settings, the use of subcutaneous fluids is an effective technique for rehydration, however, the rate and site of fluids administration may vary.

Learning objectives

  • To demonstrate the importance of fluid assessment and give examples of fluid records.
  • To explain the challenges of investigating drinking behavior in order to make appropriate recommendations.
  • To provide practical advice for enhancing fluid intake in older people in long-term care settings.