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New EHI-sponsored study reveals impact of dehydration on on-call doctors and nurses

A new study released by the University of Nottingham Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences has revealed that a significant proportion of on-call doctors and nurses were dehydrated at both the start and end of their medical shifts.

The Hydration Amongst Nurses and Doctors On-Call study (HANDS On Prospective Cohort) study investigated the prevalence of dehydration, assessing the relationship between dehydration and cognitive function in healthcare professionals, during shifts in which their decisions and actions could have significant impact on the wellbeing of patients1.

Of the 88 doctors and nurses who completed the study, across 130 shifts, a third were found to be dehydrated at the start of their shift, while 45% were dehydrated at the end of the shift. Dehydration was associated with some impairment of some cognitive functions, consistent with existing research that shows dehydration of as little as 2% of total body weight may impair physical and cognitive performance 2,3.

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[1]  Dileep N. Lobo et al. Hydration amongst nurses and doctors on-call (the HANDS on prospective cohort study), Clinical Nutrition. July 15 2015. Available at: http://www.clinicalnutritionjournal.com/article/S0261-5614(15)00184-3/abstract. Last accessed August 2015
[2]  Adan A. Cognitive performance and dehydration. J Am Coll Nutr. 2012;31(2):71e8
[3] Grandjean AC, Grandjean NR. Dehydration and cognitive performance. J Am Coll Nutr. 2007;26(Suppl. 5):549Se54S