A proof of concept project, funded by NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, has seen a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of care home residents.

The initiative, led by Partners in Care in collaboration with 36 care homes across the county, specifically targeted the issue of urinary tract infections (UTIs) as the leading cause of hospitalisations among care home residents through a whole home training approach.

On average each of these care home admissions results in a hospital stay of 11 days, with potentially long-term consequences for that older person in terms of loss of mobility, strength and independence.

Recognising the detrimental impact of dehydration on older adults’ health, the project focused on heightening awareness of hydration within care home settings.

Sophie Corbett, Clinical Practice Education Lead at Partners in Care,  said: “Being dehydrated has many negative health consequences for an older person.

“Not only are they more likely to get a UTI, but they will be more tired, confused and agitated, they can experience constipation, poor wound healing, pressure sores, and more medication side effects. We also know that if older people are dehydrated their blood pressure drops, they can feel dizzy and are therefore more likely to fall.”

Through a ‘whole home’ training approach and on-going support of Hydration Champions, the project yielded positive outcomes. Analysis of data from 19 care homes involved throughout the 12 months of the project, revealed a 36% reduction in UTI-related hospital admissions between April and September 2023, compared to the corresponding period in 2022.

All staff in the care homes were encouraged to attend a 1.5 hour training session on hydration. The involvement of kitchen staff in the care homes played a pivotal role in increasing drinks choices and accommodating residents’ preferences.

Sophie continued: “Kitchen staff are incredibly important for ensuring that there are a range of hydrating food options available for those who may be reluctant to drink fluids for whatever reason. A bowl of soup is approximately 150mls which is 10% of an older person’s recommended daily fluid intake”.

Staff have been making changes to how they support their residents’ hydration needs in a number of ways: additional drinks rounds, increased drinks choices, a wider range of suitable drinking vessels and more hydrating foods options are just some of the improvements adopted by the homes.

Margaret Pullen, Hydration Champion at Lightmoor View, says, “We have a new resident who was unable to express their likes and dislikes, so we made up a few tasters for them.”

Through feedback from care homes participating in the project, we have discovered that many residents enjoy fizzy drinks, with lemonade, dandelion and burdock, and Vimto being especially popular.

Alison Massey, Transformation and System Commissioning Partner for NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, said: “We were keen to test a different approach to training by using a whole home and quality improvement focus which enabled all Care Home staff to work together to identify the changes that could be made for their homes. I am delighted that this has had such a positive impact for residents.”


For further information please contact Sophie Corbett, Clinical Practice Education Lead, Partners in Care, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.