Dehydration in geriatrics: Consequences and practical guidelines

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Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care


Purpose of reviewGeriatric dehydration is a widespread and under recognized problem. The purpose of this review was to examine the latest evidence regarding geriatric dehydration and provide practical guidance for health professionals.Recent findingsThis review covers evidence from the past 2 years and shows that geriatric dehydration is not benign and is associated with significant personal distress, as well as negative economic and health system consequences. New guidance on nutrition and hydration in the elderly recommend against the use of skin turgor, dry mouth, urine colour or specific gravity to determine hydration status in the elderly. Instead, serum osmolality is considered the gold standard.SummaryStrategies to prevent and manage geriatric dehydration should differ depending on aetiology (low intake, volume depletion or both). Widespread dissemination and implementation of innovative strategies that target improved access to fluids, and systems change to enable rapid and accurate identification and treatment are required.

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