Trust aids patient hydration using a simple traffic light system

The system was introduced earlier this month as part of the Trust’s ‘But First a Drink’ initiative

Emily Hawthorn
29 November 2019
Water jugs DBTH

Colour-coded jugs are used as a simple visual cue to monitor fluid intake.

Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (DBTH) are tackling patient dehydration with an innovative traffic light system.


Introduced as part of the Trust’s ‘But First a Drink’ initiative earlier this month, colour-coded jugs are used as a simple visual cue to monitor a patient’s fluid intake.

With around 45% of patients becoming dehydrated during an inpatient stay, it is known to slow recovery and make patients more sustainable to issues such as; constipation, pressure ulcers, acute kidney injury, cardiac disease and venous thromboembolism.

The new system goes as follows:

  • Each morning, a patient is given a 750ml jug with a red lid.
  • When the first jug is empty, it is refilled and the lid is changed to amber.
  • When the amber jug is empty, it is refilled again and is changed to green.

A green lid indicates the patient has consumed more than 1500ml of fluid.


If staff are concerned about the patient’s fluid intake the red lid is used throughout and a blue lid has also been introduced for patients with strict fluid restrictions.

Cindy Storer, Acting Deputy Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals at DBTH, said: “Although such a simple concept, by visually monitoring the amount our patients are drinking we can substantially reduce dehydration within our wards.

“Ensuring you have enough fluids is incredibly important to recovery, and we hope to see improvements in the care we provide following the introduction of our traffic light system later this month.”

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