Heat-Ready: Heatwave awareness, preparedness and adaptive capacity in aged care facilities in three Australian states: New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia
Authors: Deborah Black, Craig Veitch, Leigh Wilson and Alana Hansen
Planning for the health effects of extreme heat in elderly residents is critical to ensure wellness in this population group is maintained. Of greatest importance is: cooling, hydration, monitoring and emergency planning. This study identifies the current policies and strategies Australian aged care facilities (ACFs) use to keep residents well, and highlights the barriers to heatwave adaptation and maintaining wellness during periods of extreme heat. From the 1,561 ACFs identified in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia, a total of 287 (18%) agreed to participate in a 15 minute Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI). The information gathered indicated that 90% of facilities had a current ACF emergency plan, although only 30% included heat-wave emergency planning. Heatwave policies were not routine in all ACFs in any state, and strategies to keep residents cool were not consistent across all states or facilities.