Summer heat can be brutal, but for the elderly it can be downright dangerous. Luckily, residents of the Nathaniel Witherell rehabilitation and nursing center in Greenwich have been able to avoid heat-related problems.
"Health codes specify minimum temperatures in the winter for nursing facilities, but not in the summer," said Nathaniel Witherell Executive Director Allen Brown. "A lot of nursing homes are not air conditioned like we are and that's when they run into problems. Even if there is a power outage, like there was in March before it got hot, we have an emergency generator."
The Connecticut Department of Public Health issued recommendations last month for management of nursing home residents during hot weather, instructing facilities to ensure the buildings have a safe supply of fans to circulate air and monitor air temperatures in various parts of the building regularly.
For residents, the department suggests providing cool sponge baths, assessing residents at risk more frequently, evaluating clothing needs of residents and monitoring residents if they do choose to go outside.
The public health department also recommends before a heat wave for facilities to check air conditioning systems and supplies and make sure to have an emergency call list for rental companies of air conditioning systems.
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