Heat wave response plan for the elderly

Leading national at-home care company, Home Instead, has actioned its Heatwave Alert plan to assure the safety of its elderly clients.

The company put its plan into action following yesterday’s announcement that temperatures are set to soar and this issuing of a level 2 health alert by the Met Office.

The alert is triggered when there is a high chance that temperatures will reach between 82F and 89F over two consecutive days and not dip below 59F at night.

 Home Instead’s action plan involves alerting staff at its 150 offices plus, most importantly, the company’s 6,500 caregivers to the dangers the heatwave can present to the company’s clients.

Their plan is based on the advice issued by Public Health England (PHE) and is in place to ensure caregivers are aware of the dangers of such high temperatures to the elderly. They will particularly be looking for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke as older people’s bodies are often unable to adjust to sudden changes in temperature.

The company’s clients are being advised to ensure they take in plenty of fluids and eat normally during the hot weather.

The following tips are included in their advice to clients:

1. Avoid the hottest times of the day (between 11am – 3pm) – if you do need to venture out make sure you aren’t outside for long periods of time and find shady spots when you can.

2. Keep hydrated – even if you’re not thirsty it’s important to drink plenty of water or fruit juice to replace fluids lost during sweating. Avoid caffeine or alcohol which increases dehydration.

3. Think lightweight – choose clothing which is loose, lightweight, light coloured and breathable, such as a white linen or cotton shirt.

4. Cool down – take cool showers and baths when possible. If you’re out and about, use a cotton hankie soaked in cool water, place it on the back of your neck and on your wrists.

5. Cover up – in addition to wearing cooler clothing it’s also important to remember a hat. No matter whether it’s a cotton baseball cap or a straw boater, headwear will help to keep your face in the shade.

6. Pick the perfect spot – seek out the coolest areas of your home during warmer weather. Keep curtains and blinds closed to prevent sun heating up rooms, especially your bedroom.

7. If safe, leave windows open during the night.

8. Turn off non-essential lights and electrical items.

Speaking about the risk to the elderly, Home Instead CEO, Trevor Brocklebank said, “Older people don’t often realise that our bodies react differently as we age.

“One of the ways we can really help is by running through the PHE’s tips with our clients as we visit during the next few days. We will ensure they are encouraged to drink plenty and remain indoors during the hottest part of the days.”