New guidance has been issued for home care managers on helping prevent winter deaths and illnesses associated with cold homes.
The guide, published by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), provides simple steps that home care managers can take to prevent winter deaths, and offers advice on how care staff can identify those most at risk.
It also explains how to access a person’s circumstances and vulnerability to a cold home.
NICE said simple, well planned, preventative action could help avoid over 28,000 deaths each year.
“For a vulnerable person, living in a cold home increases their chance of serious illness or death. They are at higher risk of a heart attack or stroke, breathing problems, flu, depression and falls,” the organisation explained on its website.
“This effect occurs not just in extreme winter weather but also in moderate conditions and particularly when outdoor temperature drops below 6°C. For those with care needs, being housebound increases both the exposure to an underheated home and the cost of heating it.”
The guide states that home care managers should have an action plan for preventing winter illnesses and deaths that includes:
- Contact details for reporting concerns to local authority health and housing services;
- Details of local sources of advice and support that can be shared with vulnerable people;
- A training plan for care staff that covers recognising those at risk, considering and accessing vulnerability and how to document and share concerns appropriately.