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Live in and Home Care workers – Heatwave advice

Live in and Home Care workers – Heatwave advice

 Who is at risk?

 

 

There are certain factors that increase an individual’s risk during a heatwave. These include:

  • Older age:
    • especially those over 75 years old, or those living on their own and who are socially isolated, or in a care home.
  • Chronic and severe illness:
    • including heart conditions, diabetes, respiratory or renal insufficiency, Parkinson’s disease or severe mental illness. Medications that potentially affect renal function, sweating, thermoregulation or electrolyte balance can make this group more vulnerable to the effects of heat.
  • Inability to adapt behaviour to keep cool:
    • having Alzheimer’s, a disability, being bed bound, too much alcohol, babies and the very young.
  • Environmental factors and overexposure:
  • living in a top floor flat, being homeless, activities or jobs that are in hot places or outdoors and include high levels of physical exertion.

During severe hot weather, there is a risk of developing heat exhaustion and heatstroke and other heat-related illnesses including respiratory and heart problems. In a moderate heatwave, it is mainly the above high-risk groups that are affected. However, during an extreme heatwave such as the one affecting France in 2003, fit and healthy people can also be affected.

If you are advising, visiting, supporting or caring for someone in their own home, these are the steps that should be taken where possible, involve their family and any informal carers in these arrangements.

  • Check that extra care and support are available if needed.
  • Check that the person can contact the primary care team if one of their informal carers is unavailable.
  • Check that their care plan contains contact details for their GP, other care workers and informal carers.
  • Check that there are adequate arrangements for food shopping to reduce having to go out in hot weather.

 

 

 

 

Facilities

  • Check that fridges and freezers work properly.
  • Check that the person has light, loose-fitting cotton clothing to wear.
  • If you plan to move the person somewhere cooler in the event of a heatwave, consider what equipment or help you might need.
  • Where relevant check that fans and air-conditioning work properly, and replace appliances with energy-efficient models.


Environment

Immediate, where required

• Consider the possibility of moving the person to a cooler room. People living in top floor accommodation may be at particular risk as heat rises.


More routinely

• Check that the person’s home or room can be properly ventilated, without causing any additional health risk, discomfort or security problems.

 

• Check that any south facing windows, which let in most sunlight, can be shaded, preferably with curtains with pale, reflective linings. Metal venetian blinds and curtains with dark linings absorb heat and may make things worse.


 


 

 



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