Preparation of residential aged care services for extreme hot weather in Victoria, Australia Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Objectives. The purpose of this study was to describe preparations for extreme hot weather at Victorian public sector residential aged care services for the 2010−11 summer, and to examine the role of the Residential Aged Care Services Heatwave Ready Resource in this process. Method. Qualitative data was collected through semi-structured interviews of senior staff of Victorian public sector residential aged care services. Interviews were conducted at monthly intervals from November 2010 to March 2011, and data were analysed thematically. Results. All interviewees described pre-summer preparations for hot weather undertaken at the health services they represented. Staff awareness and experience, and having a heatwave plan, were reported to have facilitated heat preparedness, whereas challenges to preparations mainly concerned air conditioning. The Residential Aged Care Services Heatwave Ready Resource was used to inform heatwave plans, for staff and family education, and as an audit tool. Conclusions. An extensive and well-considered approach to minimisation of harm from extreme heat by a sample of residential aged care services is described, and the Residential Aged Care Services Heatwave Ready Resource is reported to have supported the heatwave preparedness process. What is known about the topic? Heatwaves cause illness and death and are likely to become more frequent and severe in the future. Residents of aged care services are particularly vulnerable to harm from heatwaves. The Residential Aged Care Services Heatwave Ready Resource has been developed to support staff of residential aged care services in Victoria to prepare for heatwaves. What does this paper add? This exploratory study provides insight into the types of preparations for extreme hot weather that are undertaken at Victorian residential aged care services before and during summer. What are the implications for practitioners? A combination of staff knowledge and experience, and having a heatwave plan, supported by a publication that includes educational resources and a checklist is reported to facilitate the preparedness of Victorian residential aged care services for extreme hot weather.

publication date

  • 2013