While most of us are enjoying the June heatwave, at Alertacall we are well aware of the potential risks the hot weather poses to a number of our older customers. The general name given to a variety of heat-related illnesses is ‘hyperthermia’, of which its two most common forms are: heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke is especially dangerous and requires immediate medical attention.
Many of our clients are using our messaging system this week to get in contact with their service users, either to provide information on how to stay safe in the heat or to make additional property checks for those with higher needs, this could be to see if anyone needs help to make sure the heating is turned off and to check that properties are well ventilated.
By ensuring daily contact, we are also able to proactively check in with our customers to make sure they are OK and identify any possible issues early on. Importantly, this preventative approach saves lives. If we are unable to make contact with a customer an escalation process is initiated. In most instances, we notify members of the housing, health or social care teams we work with or friends and family members nominated by the customer.
In some cases, for example if we think it’s very unusual that we can’t make contact with someone, our team may feel it’s necessary to call emergency services or let other response services know. We regularly discover customers ill or immobile (many unable to access or activate their alarm if they had one). It is noticeable that the number of escalations during periods of hot weather significantly increase.
Age UK has a useful information guide on how to prevent heat-related illness and advice on what to do if someone shows signs of becoming ill – take care out there and if you have a friend, relative or neighbour who you feel may be at risk, take that extra time to pop in just to make sure they are OK.