So, you took time during Spring to prepare your care home for Summer, meaning your residents are all set to make the most out of the warmer months. However, the work doesn’t stop there. Summer can be a thoroughly enjoyable time for your residents, but there are a whole host of different challenges carers must consider ensuring safety in the heat. Here are some of the issues that your staff will need to be on the lookout for after taking the time to prepare your care home for Summer.
Hydration, hydration, hydration!
The human body requires between 2.5 to 2.0 litres of water year round, as about 65% of our body weight is comprised of water. With this said, the risks of dehydration for care home residents are far greater in the Summer, as those in care were found to be ‘five times more likely to be left thirsty, particularly due to being reluctant to drink’.
There are many dangers from dehydration, with the British Nutrition Foundation citing that even mild dehydration can have big repercussions on a senior resident’s cognitive ability, including their memory and comprehension. If dehydration persists, the consequences can be even greater, including low blood pressure, an increased risk of falls, constipation, weakness, skin conditions and even kidney injury. It is therefore crucial that your staff are well equipped to keep residents well hydrated and aware of the benefits.
To ensure your residents are motivated to drink, here are some great options for promoting hydration:
- Offer a wide range of beverages: Some residents will be unmotivated to just drink water, so other drinks such as juices and teas can be a great alternative
- Have a self-service drinks station: This can encourage residents to drink more, as they’ll feel more independent with their choices
- Routines: To promote good hydration habits, it’s important to get into a routine of regular drinking times across the day
- Educate: Educate your staff on why good hydration is important. They’ll then be empowered to relay this information back to your residents, who will feel more encouraged to drink
- Have a hydration plan: A proper hydration plan is going to be especially important during Summer, as well as providing a handy guide for years to come
Ensuring a constant airflow throughout your care home is pivotal in promoting the safety of your residents as it gets warmer. The need for adequate airflow is also going to be especially important this Summer, as the government has issued its advice for care home visits from friends and family over the coming months, with a key emphasis on adequate ventilation during visits. If you’re not sure of the best location in your care home for fresh air, you can even consider creating a visitation area in your garden or courtyard, as long as the weather is permitting.
A third important safety factor that you’re going to want to consider is sun protection. With residents spending more time outside, it’s important that their skin is protected from the sun’s harsh rays. Here are some things that you might like to consider:
- Sun cream with SPF 30 or more: To properly protect the skin, you’re going to want to choose a sun cream with a high SPF
- Continuously apply sun cream: It’s not enough to simply apply sun cream in the morning and then hope for the best, it’s important to apply generous amounts of cream throughout the day at regular intervals
- Provide sun protection: Whether its parasols, light but full-coverage clothing or hats, ensuring your residents are well covered will promote safe enjoyment of the sun
Additional points to consider
- Pay attention: Are some of your residents at a higher risk of dehydration?
- Focus on behaviour: Some residents may spend more time in bed during the day, so have a regular plan to look out for them and monitor how they’re dealing with the heat
- Plan for staff: Hotter months may have increased requests for staff holidays, so always make sure there are no conflicts in planned dates by discussing a clear schedule with the care home workers.