An elderly patient may be at risk for dehydration if certain risk factors are present.


Risk factors:

(1) age > 85 years

(2) female gender

(3) decreased total body water

(4) history of dehydration


(5) poor responsiveness to thirst

(6) difficulty in comprehension, confusion, dementia or Alzheimer's disease

(6) depressed levels of consciousness

(8) self-neglect

(9) depression


(10) moderate to marked impairment in mobility (chairbound, bedridden)

(11) difficulty in communication

(12) problems with hand dexterity and/or need for assistance in eating and drinking


(13) daily fluid intake < 1,500 mL

(14) no or limited access to water

(15) restriction on fluid intake with insufficient parenteral fluid replacement


(16) hospitalization

(17) staff problems at a health care institution (understaffing, poor training, poor supervision)


(18) >= 5 chronic comorbid conditions

(19) polyuria (diabetes mellitus, diabetes insipidus, diuresis, impaired renal concentrating capacity)

(20) diarrhea

(21) fever or high environmental temperature

(22) vomiting

(23) hemorrhage

(24) tachypnea

(25) mechanical ventilation

(26) very low humidity

(27) fluid loss across skin (sweating, burns, open bullae, etc)

(28) impaired fluid intake (dysphagia, oral or esophageal disease, etc)


(29) >= 5 different medications

(30) lithium therapy (associated with diabetes insipidus)


(31) anorexia

(32) intentional avoidance of drinking (fear of incontinence, fasting)

(33) isolation or solitary confinement


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