AN AWARD-WINNING invention which helps keep patients hydrated is being rolled out across Dorset’s community health services.

Dorset HealthCare introduced the Hydrant bottles at Victoria Hospital in Wimborne last year and is now one of just three trusts in the country to be awarded an extra £62,500 from NHS England to extend the programme to around 2,500 patients who use the Trust’s community-based Wheelchair Ser-vice and Wimborne’s Community Rehabilitation Service.

The innovative device provides a simple way for patients to remain hydrated, whilst allowing community staff and carers to monitor fluid intake to reduce the risk of dehydration.

The design features a bottle which clips onto beds, chairs and wheelchairs, and a long drinking tube with a bite down valve to prevent leaks.

It also boasts a non-return system for hygiene and a clip to attach to clothing.

Julia Kinsella, specialist clinical services manager and professional head of occupational therapy at Dorset HealthCare explained: “When we used the Hydrant in our community hospital, our ward nurses reported a significant drop in the number of patients with urinary infections.

“Our aim is to work with individuals who have day-to-day difficulties keeping themselves well hydrated and to assess the health benefits and possible reduction in dehydration related illnesses or hospital admissions that having a Hydrant may bring.”

Keeping hydrated is vital to a person’s physical and psychological wellbeing, particularly for the elderly and those with long term conditions who are more susceptible to hydration-related conditions such as pressure ulcers, urinary tract infections and falls.

Good hydration decreases the risk of acute kidney injury, infection and the resultant need to use intravenous fluids and antibiotics.

NHS England estimates that for every £1 spent on the new Hydrant system it saves £16.