Long-Term Care

Seven steps to ensure accurate I & O records

LTC Nursing Assistant Trainer, February 18, 2004

Accurately measuring and recording fluid intake and output are important aspects of resident care. Monitoring a resident's fluid balance with an intake and output record (I & O) allows nursing staff to prevent dehydration, fluid retention, and other problems related to fluid imbalance.

To ensure accurate I & O records. . .

  1. Ask for the resident's assistance in tracking fluid intake and outtake, if possible. Explain that their intake and output will be measured and the reason for the procedure.
  2. Ask the resident frequently if they have consumed any fluids between meals and add that amount to the I & O sheet.
  3. Place the I & O sheet in its designated place.
  4. Record oral intake immediately after meals, even before removing the tray.
  5. Record the output measurements immediately after they are measured.
  6. Estimate the amount of output for incontinent or perspiring residents by recording, "incontinent large amount of urine" or "perspiring heavily." Use a plus (+) sign after any total that includes an estimated amount.
  7. Report inadequate intakes and outputs to the charge nurse.

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