Journal of Environmental Health
April 2017, Volume 79, No. 8, 28–37
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A Comparison of Heat Wave Response Plans From an Aged Care Facility Perspective
Benjamin Okwuofu-Thomas, MAgeHlth, Department of Environmental Sciences, Macquarie University
Paul J. Beggs, PhD, Department of Environmental Sciences, Macquarie University
Ross J. MacKenzie, PhD, Department of Psychology, Macquarie University
Heat waves result in significant excess mortality, particularly amongst elderly people. This article examines selected heat wave response plans at national, state/provincial, and municipal levels, with a particular focus on specific responses aimed at residents of aged care facilities. We sourced heat wave response plans from several countries that are experiencing a demographic transition that features a growing aging population. We collected a total of 23 heat wave response plans; most of the plans were from Australia, with only three plans each available from Canada and the UK, and only two available from the U.S. Key components found across the plans were analysis of temperature thresholds, heat stress prevention measures, and communication strategies. Only three heat wave response plans that we analyzed included specific guidance for aged care facilities. Projected increases in frequency and duration of heat waves in coming decades underline the need for governments to implement effective guidelines that include specific provisions for aged care facilities.