There is an Amber Extreme heat warning this weekend, valid from 0001hrs on Sunday until 23:59 hours on Tuesday. We are expecting afternoon highs in the low to mid 30s across much of the UK, including parts of the South West.
We have compiled a number of resources to support you in keeping your service users safe and well.
UKHSA has also published a piece on dynamic risk assessment in adult social care environments during this heatwave: ASC Heat Alert 20220714 v1.0 FINAL.pdf (govdelivery.com)
Use of fans in Residential Care
This is a very topical issue and one where we would like to provide some additional guidance and support. Fans do increase the risk of spreading an airborne infection, but they do provide some relief from the significant temperatures that we are seeing. As always we would wish to provide some pragmatic advice and would recommend that providers document the steps taken within a risk assessment. Fans can be used and with current temperatures the associated risk for most settings is relatively low compared to the risk of transmission of Covid. The blades of the fan should be thoroughly cleaned, cleaning should be undertaken regularly and particularly after use with any resident who is unwell, symptomatic or tested positive for covid. Fans should ideally be placed to increase circulation of external air, so be careful about placement. If a fan is used within the room of an unwell, symptomatic or tested positive resident, the room door should be closed to prevent circulation out of the room into the wider care setting. It may also be useful to attach a cleaning schedule to the fan to clearly show when it was last cleaned. As always if providers would like further support, please do email us at ASCcovid19@somerset.gov.uk
Regarding PPE, please note that staff may need to need to change their face masks more frequently than normal due to sweat and the need to take more frequent breaks to drink. This should be supported and if there are any concerns regarding stock, providers should contact the PPE Portal customer service team on 0800 876 680.
British Red Cross – Heatwave support
In response to the ongoing heatwave, the British Red Cross has stepped up its emergency response team for the next week or two.
Contact is via the Crisis Response Contact Centre on 0300 0230700.
No other details are currently available, so please visit the website below for future updates:
Resources: Staying safe in extreme heat
UKHSA has published a blog post with information about staying safe. It includes symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke and actions to take.
Both factsheets contain detailed information on:
- the types of health conditions and medications that can make people more vulnerable to the effects of heat
- advice on building ventilation and the use of fans
- information about what to do in an emergency if you suspect someone is suffering from heatstroke
- more general recommendations for keeping everyone comfortable and hydrated during hot weather
SCC has a page with links to resources on heatwaves.
Somerset CCG has a helpful leaflet on hydration available here: Hydration-leaflet.pdf (somersetccg.nhs.uk)
There are other resources around Hydration on our Training Resources page.