The WA Department of Health has activated the State Hazard Plan Heatwave based on forecast temperatures for the remainder of the week, for the Perth metropolitan area. Forecasts for parts of regional WA are also unusually high for this time of year.
Aged Care service providers play an integral role in taking steps to prepare their sites, staff and care recipients for heatwave conditions. Providers should stay informed of current activity by monitoring local media and regularly checking for updates on the Bureau of Meteorology and the Emergency WA websites.
Make sure you know the signs of heat stress, including muscle cramps, pallor, dizziness, headache, nausea, increased heart rate, fainting, excessive sweating or no sweating with high temperature and hot, dry skin.
People who experience severe symptoms such as these should seek urgent medical advice.
In an emergency please ring 000 (triple 0).
The following precautions should be taken to help prevent heat-related illness:
- ensure that the temperature in care recipients' rooms and within the facility is kept comfortable, keeping curtains and blinds closed to reduce excess heat
- monitor entry/exit points to avoid the unsupervised departure of care recipients during extreme heat events
- be aware that care recipients may be at particular risk following high overnight temperatures
- ensure small amounts of fluids are readily available, rather than large amounts of fluids less frequently
- avoid serving caffeinated or alcoholic beverages
- provide care recipients with frequent small meals
- help care recipients to keep skin covered when exposed to direct sunlight and to wear loose fitting clothing
- avoid taking care recipients outside between 11am and 3pm
- offer tepid showers or sponging
- look for signs of heat stress, such as nausea or changes in appearance including red, pale or severely dry skin
- ask for a clinical assessment if care recipient shows any signs of deterioration.
If you need assistance in finding resources to support you in managing an emergency please ring the department on 1800 733 923. This number is monitored at all times.
Please refer to the following resources for further advice: