In response to an increase in osmolarity or a decrease in plasma volume, surgical patients often experience thirst during the perioperative period. Thirst causes intense discomfort for patients, but perioperative nurses and health care providers have received minimal direction on how to address this concern. This article presents evidence related to the advances in the management of patients’ thirst and discusses clinical strategies that perioperative personnel can safely implement for their patients during the preoperative and postoperative periods. The Thirst Study and Research Group at Londrina State University, Brazil, developed the Thirst Management Model to provide a standardized method for perioperative personnel. Four pillars comprise this model: identification of thirst, measurement of thirst, safety assessment for the management of thirst, and application of relief strategies. This evidence-based model should assist perioperative nurses with translating knowledge and scientific evidence into clinical practice to provide safe patient care.
Key words: thirst, thirst relief, thirst management model, patient discomfort, symptom management.