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Fluid and electrolyte imbalances are associated with numerous complications, including increased morbidity and mortality, as well as increased hospital length of stay. Hospital patients needing IV fluids are very variable in terms of their fluid and electrolyte status and their likely responses to IV fluid therapy. Therefore, a full assessment is required by a competent clinician regarding the best content, volume and rate of IV fluids to be administered in order to minimize risks associated with fluid and electrolyte therapy (NICE 2013).
Patients have a valuable contribution to make to their fluid balance. If a patient needs IV fluids, the decision should be explained to them along with the signs and symptoms they need to look for if their fluid balance needs adjusting. If possible or when asked, provide written information (for example, NICE's Information for the public), and involve the patient's family members or carers (as appropriate) (NICE 2013).
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