Background: Dehydration of elderly people living independently is a very important public health issue. This study compares two interventions to prevent dehydration in elderly people at risk: an educational intervention and an educational intervention in combination with a drink reminder device.
Methods: This is an experimental two-armed parallel study. A Public Health Service develops the interventions and will be partnering with a general practice and a university to evaluate the effects. Two groups - all people aged 80 years and older, and people of 65 years and older who have cardiovascular disease - receive a letter from the general practice in which they are asked whether they want to participate in the study and if so to return the form. People who want to participate and whose daily fluid intake is insufficient are randomized to receive either the educational intervention or the educational intervention in combination with a drink reminder device. The participants are asked to fill in a questionnaire before the intervention, 6 weeks after the start of the intervention and 6 months after the start (or after the end) of the intervention. Changes between the two groups in fluid intake, knowledge, awareness of the risks of dehydration, and quality-of-life will be tested by Linear Mixed Model analyses.
Conclusions: This study will improve the knowledge of the effectiveness of interventions designed to prevent dehydration in elderly people.
Keywords: Dehydration; drink reminder device; elderly; fluid intake; study protocol.