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Regional business and charity team up with children’s Emergency Department to combat dehydration with diluted apple juice

12th March 2018

Categories: Latest News

• The initiative was set up in the children’s hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) after research showed diluted apple juice is as effective as rehydration salts in children with mild gastroenteritis
• The initiative is part of The Grand Appeal’s Emergency Department Appeal which is raising money to transform what is the biggest and busiest children’s ED in the South West

A new initiative has been set up at Bristol children’s hospital to help its Emergency Department team treat children suffering from dehydration, using apple juice and a juice dispenser donated by family-run business Bradley’s Drinks.

When children get diarrhoea or vomiting, they can quickly become dehydrated which can be severe and life-threatening if not treated properly and quickly. To combat this, doctors and nurses often use specially made rehydration drinks, with a mixture of salts and sugars designed to keep fluid levels stable. However, it can often be difficult to treat young children with these rehydration drinks if they don’t like the taste. They also come at a cost to the NHS.

Research published in 2016 showed that when given small, regular sips of diluted apple juice, children suffering from dehydration as a result of mild gastroenteritis were less likely to need additional treatments – possibly because they were happier with the taste and more willing to drink the juice.1

Dr Giles Haythornthwaite, Paediatric Emergency Medicine Consultant at the hospital, approached Somerset-based Bradley’s Drinks, who agreed to donate a juice dispenser and diluted, pasteurised apple juice through the Emergency Department Appeal, the current fundraising appeal run by the Bristol Children’s Hospital Charity The Grand Appeal.

Dr Giles Haythornthwaite added: “At this time of year, we tend to see a lot of young patients suffering from upset stomachs during the cold and flu season. Bradley’s managed to install the dispenser and juice just before Christmas, which was immensely helpful in treating dehydration, a common but potentially serious consequence of a typical winter stomach bug.

“The children we’ve treated have been able to rehydrate faster, and as a result we’re able to send them home sooner, where their parents can continue to give them small sips of diluted apple juice, rehydrating them effectively at home. It’s really helping us to support children and reduce the number of overnight stays, but also educate their parents.”

Aimee White, from Bristol, brought her 5-year-old daughter Maddy into hospital on Boxing Day. Maddy had been sick multiple times and was suffering from dehydration as a result.

Aimee said: “When I took Maddy to the Emergency Department, she was floppy and not really responding, so the team knew they needed to start giving her regular, small doses of fluid to rehydrate her. Giving a five-year-old rehydration drinks isn’t always easy because of the taste, so when the team offered the apple juice Maddy responded well. We were back home the same day, where I continued to give her regular, small sips of diluted apple juice on the advice of the team. It’s a small touch but it had such a big impact, not just on Maddy but also on us as her parents.”

So far, Bradley’s has donated over 100 litres of apple juice.

Miles Bradley, founder and owner of Bradley’s Drinks said: “We jumped at the opportunity when we were approached by Giles. We are absolutely delighted to be giving back to the local community in this unique way, and to support the hospital and the incredible staff that work day and night to save lives and support sick children and babies from across the South West.”

Nicola Masters, Director of The Grand Appeal finished: “The Emergency Department Appeal is designed to support not just the young patients in desperate need of care by these expert doctors and nurses at Bristol children’s hospital, but their families too, so it’s very fitting to have the generous support of a family-run, local business who are giving back to their local community through this amazingly unique way.”

The Emergency Department at Bristol children’s hospital treats over 40,000 children a year from Bristol and beyond. As a designated Major Trauma Centre for the South West it has a paediatric population of over 800,000. Supporters of the hospital and the charity have so far raised tens of thousands of pounds towards the Emergency Department Appeal, which has already supported the renovation of the Resuscitation area, where the most critically ill babies and children are treated.

To find out how you could support your children’s emergency department, visit

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