The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published the latest issue in their ‘Learning from safety incidents‘ series. The new issue looks at the risk of hypothermia and how this ca
n develop in vulnerable people after a relatively short exposure to cold weather.
What is hypothermia?
Hypothermia can develop in vulnerable people after a relatively short exposure to cold weather. It can even develop after a small drop in room temperature.
Many people who use health and social care services may be at risk of developing hypothermia. They include:
- Older people in care homes and receiving care at home
- People with reduced mental capacity, reduced mobility, or a sensory impairment
- People who cannot communicate that they are exposed to cold
What can be done to avoid hypothermia from happening?
Hypothermia incidences can easily happen in care homes, and it is important for providers to have contingency plans to keep their residents warm – particularly over the winter months.
People receiving care at home may be at a greater risk.NICE style=”font-weight: 400;”> have produced a Quality standard for Preventing excess winter deaths and illnesses associated with cold homes.
This includes priority areas for home-care staff to:
- Ask vulnerable people, at least once a year, whether they have difficulty keeping warm at home
- Consider room temperature when they are making home visits
- Ensure good communication between agencies. This is to identify and address any needs and to avoid duplication.