Diane Bunn is Lecturer in Health Sciences in the School of Health Sciences at UEA. Her expertise is in hydration care among older people – and especially those living in care homes. Incorporating collaborative approaches, she works with care staff and residents to understand why people tend to drink less, in order to develop ways of supporting people to drink well to prevent dehydration (which leads to other health problems). She has investigated whether the commonly used signs and symptoms of dehydration are effective on older people, finding that they don’t work, due to the changes in physiology which occur in older people.. She also explores the wider benefits of drinking beyond the physical health needs – including the social benefits and reduction in loneliness –. Some of the resources which Diane has co-authored are ‘DrinKit’ (supporting hydration care for older adults), and Top Tips for Tricky Times (working with and for care home staff during a pandemic). Diane is currently working with care homes researching into the effects of the pandemic.
Diane originally trained as a nurse and a midwife before becoming a research nurse in rheumatology. She was involved in a project examining inflammatory polyarthritis (which affects many joints). She has had funding for her work from the Burdett Nursing Trust, National Institute for Health Research, the British Society of Gerontology, and Dunhill Medical Trust. She has spoken at the Gerontological Society of America conference, the European Geriatric Medicine Conference, and the British Society of Gerontology’s annual conferences.
Areas of Expertise (3)
Hydration in the Older People Population
Finalist, Norfolk Care Awards in collaborative working category
Finalists in ‘Outstanding Impact in Health, Wellbeing and Welfare’, UEA.
Winner, UEA Engagement Awards, Group Achievement category
University of East Anglia: PhD 2016
University of East Anglia: MSc, Health Sciences 2002
University of Surrey: BSc (Hons), Nursing Studies 1983
University of Surrey: Registered General Nurse
Media Appearances (1)
Care home dehydration tests don't work
Science Codex online
Lead author, Dr Diane Bunn, from UEA's School of Health Sciences, said: "When we analysed the results of all the simple tests, we found that none of them were able to accurately identify people with dehydration, and we recommend that they are withdrawn from practice. "Whilst blood tests are the most accurate way of telling if someone is dehydrated, this is expensive and not easily done in care homes unless a doctor orders the test. We really need an inexpensive easy-to-do test for dehydration in older people, and one which works."
Event Appearances (5)
Age UK Malnutrition Task Force conference
2019 Invited Speaker
National Hydration Network national conference
2019 Invited Speaker
British Society of Gerontology
2017 Swansea, Wales
Gerontological Society of America
2015 & 2016
Postgraduate Research Conference
2016 Norwich, U.K.
Effects of Dietary or Supplementary Micronutrients on Sex Hormones and IGF-1 in Middle and Older Age: A Systematic Review and Meta-AnalysisNutrients
2020 Observational research suggests that micronutrients may be protective for sarcopenia, a key health issue during ageing, potentially via effects on hormone synthesis and metabolism. We aimed to carry out a systematic review of RCTs investigating effects of increasing dietary or supplemental micronutrient intake on sex hormones and IGF-1 in individuals aged 45 years or older.
Effects of total fat intake on body fatness in adultsCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
2020 The ideal proportion of energy from fat in our food and its relation to body weight is not clear. In order to prevent overweight and obesity in the general population, we need to understand the relationship between the proportion of energy from fat and resulting weight and body fatness in the general population.
Effective hydration care for older people living in care homesNursing Times
2019 Low-intake dehydration is common in older people because of age-related physical, physiological, cognitive and psychological changes, and care home residents are at increased risk. Signs and symptoms commonly used to detect dehydration are ineffective at doing so in care home residents.
Beverage intake and drinking patterns—clues to support older people living in long-term care to drink well: DRIE and FISE studiesNutrients
2019 Low-intake dehydration, due to insufficient beverage intake, is common in older people and associated with increased mortality and morbidity. We aimed to document the drinking patterns of older adults living in long-term care and compared patterns in those drinking well with those not drinking enough.
Signs and symptoms of low-intake dehydration do not work in older care home residents—DRIE diagnostic accuracy studyJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
2018 To assess the diagnostic accuracy of commonly used signs and symptoms of low-intake dehydration in older care home residents.