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Avoiding Heat Related Illness

February 23, 2015 0 Comments

Never underestimate the damage heat related illness can cause. Here are some strategies to avoid it.

While we’re looking forward to the weather cooling as we come to the end of summer, bear in mind some of the hotter regions of Australia and the patients, clients, and Aged Care Residents who live in those conditions.

Sometimes people who are on medication, are ill, have an intellectual or physical disability, or are elderly, may not recognise, or be able to communicate that they are experiencing heat stress.

How to Avoid Heat Stress IllnessRecently, the Department of Social Services put together documentation on how to detect heat related illness and how to avoid it. While the document is aimed at Aged Care Homes and Home Care Providers, the strategies work effectively for any person in your care.

If you are working within the Aged Care Sector, NPS Medicinewise put together an excellent publication on dehydration in older people that is well worth the read:
The Balancing Act of Hydration

In the documentation from Department of Social Services some of the strategies for avoiding heat related illness include:

  • monitoring fluid intake
  • making small amounts of fluid available
  • being aware of the dangers of residents being unsupervised outside in the heat
  • keeping curtains and blinds closed to reduce excess heat in rooms
  • discourage the consumption of alcoholic or caffeinated beverages
  • be observant for signs of heat stress, eg. nausea or changes in appearance including red, pale or severely dry skin
  • being aware of what areas within the home or facility produce or trap the heat – and avoid these aeras if possible

Download the checklists for avoiding heat related illness by visiting:
Caring for Older People in Warmer Climates

And then of course, you need to consider yourself. As a Health Care Provider it is easy to forget about one’s own needs, particularly when you are so involved with caring for others. Remember to keep hydrated throughout your work day – and work night! Just because it may be cooler in the evenings you need to still keep your fluids up. If you are out in the sun, with your client or travelling to/from work, then remember to apply sunscreen, wear a hat and light clothing. Your welfare has a direct impact on those you care for.

Filed in: Care Tips

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