CARE home residents in the Durham Dales are being recruited as hydration champions in a bid to reduce medical problems in the elderly this summer.

The Durham Dales Health Federation (DDHF) is encouraging care homes to identify individuals to help their fellow residents to drink more fluids, particularly during the summer months.

DDHF service development manager, Craig Hay, said: "Last year’s prolonged hot weather underlined that if people don’t drink enough fluids, they are prone to problems such as urinary and kidney infections.

"In the elderly particularly, this can be very serious and can make people very poorly. And it can lead to other health issues. Dehydration has caused many problems for residents with catheters fitted and simply drinking a little more could make their lives a lot more comfortable."

He said that the idea was to recruit residents in care homes and ask them to gently check on their friends to make sure they were drinking enough, particularly during hot weather.

"It’s a simple idea which means that residents can become hydration champions and play a part in looking after each other," Mr Hay said. "We’re just asking them to tactfully remind their fellow residents to have a glass of water, some juice or a cup of tea regularly throughout the day to ensure they don’t become dehydrated."

The DDHF was formed in 2014 by GP practices to deliver primary health care services at a local level. The DDHF area includes practices in Bishop Auckland, Barnard Castle, Cockfield, Evenwood, Gainford, Crook, Middleton-in-Teesdale, Butterknowle and Stanhope.