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In July 2016, four care homes in Windsor Ascot and Maidenhead area commenced a quality improvement project with the aim to reduce urinary tract infection (UTI) admissions to hospital by 5%. In the first year they have collectively reduced these admissions by 33% and continue to demonstrate further reduction.

The project involved introducing a structured drinks round that took place at least seven times a day, ensuring residents were frequently offered a wide selection of hot and cold drinks. The homes were encouraged to display a choice of bright, colourful cups and glasses and to make their trolleys bright and cheerful. It was also highlighted that this time should be seen as a social gathering for residents and staff, so as to encourage hydration. Alongside this, training was given to staff on the importance of hydration, the risks of dehydration, recognition of a UTI and the effect of medicines and water.

The care homes are sustaining these rounds on average 99% of the time. Not only are hospital admissions for UTIs falling but UTIs requiring antibiotics have also reduced.
Feedback from the residents has been that they enjoy having lots of choices and on occasions, have even had two drinks! One resident who on average had a UTI every 6 weeks has been free of infection for over 9 months, therefore improving their quality of life.

This project is being undertaken by Oxford Patient Safety Collaborative and Windsor and Ascot CCG.

For further information regarding this project and tools to implement it locally:

Reducing urinary tract infections through hydration