Monitoring hydration status in elderly veterans

Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


NLM Title Abbreviation

West J Nurs Res

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Western journal of nursing research

PubMed ID



Dehydration is a common water and electrolyte disorder in long-term care residents. Practical methods to detect and monitor dehydration are needed. This study determined whether urine color measured by a urine color chart reflects hydration status. The study employed a repeated measures design with two observations during a 10-hour period. Urine color was compared to the criterion standard of urine specific gravity and osmolality. The sample included 89 participants from two Veterans' Affairs facilities. Urine color was graded on an eight-level color chart. Urine specific gravity and osmolality, serum sodium and osmolality, hematocrit, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), and creatinine were measured using standard laboratory procedures. Significant positive associations existed between urine color and both urine specific gravity and urine osmolality and between urine osmolality and serum sodium and the blood urea nitrogen to creatinine ratio. Although further testing is needed, the color chart has potential as a low-cost technology to monitor dehydration.


Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Clinical Nursing Research, Dehydration/diagnosis/nursing/urine, Female, Geriatric Assessment, Humans, Male, Monitoring, Physiologic, Nursing Diagnosis, Severity of Illness Index, Urinalysis

Published Article/Book Citation

Western journal of nursing research, 24:2 (2002) pp.132-142.

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