Diarrhoea is a major cause of child mortality. Although oral rehydration solution (ORS) is an efficacious intervention for correcting dehydration, inadequate monitoring may limit its effectiveness in routine settings. We evaluated the effect of using a caregiver-administered chart to monitor oral fluid therapy on hydration status among children with some dehydration.
An open-label randomized controlled trial was conducted among children 2–59 months of age. ORS fluid monitoring charts were given to caregivers in the intervention arm to record the hourly intake of ORS. ORS was administered without charting in the control arm. The primary outcome was dehydration defined by the presence of clinical signs of some dehydration, severe dehydration or shock assessed 4 h after initiation of treatment. We also assessed the acceptability of the charts among caregivers.
We evaluated 252 patients for the primary endpoint. Among those who received the intervention, 7/122 (5.7%) were still dehydrated following 4 h of ORS administration vs 20/130 (15.4%) in the control group (risk ratio 0.37 [95% confidence interval 0.16–0.85]). Caregivers in the intervention arm reported positive experiences using the fluid charts.
The use of fluid monitoring charts reduced the frequency of dehydration and was well accepted by caregivers, representing a promising innovation for the management of diarrhoea and dehydration in resource-limited settings.