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World Heatwave: "We must think about the nursing homes of tomorrow"

16:52  08 august  2020
16:52  08 august  2020 Source:   liberation.fr

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Dans un EPHAD à Kaysesberg, le 16 avril. © Jean-Francois Badias In an EPHAD in Kaysesberg, April 16. Anita Rossi runs two accommodation establishments for dependent elderly people (Ehpad) in the 14th arrondissement of Paris. She explains the measures put in place to protect residents against the heat wave, in a context complicated by the Covid crisis.

The heatwave is intensifying and is expected to last at least until Tuesday, Météo France reported in a Météo France bulletin. The red heat wave alert was triggered on Friday in nine departments, including Paris (1), while 53 others are placed on orange vigilance. These high temperatures and peaks in ozone pollution pose a risk of excess mortality for the very sick or the elderly. Director of two nursing homes for dependent elderly people affiliated with the Paris City Social Action Center (CASVP), Anita Rossi describes the measures taken to protect residents.

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How do your establishments cope with the heat wave?

We have cooled rooms where residents can take shelter from the heat. Fans or portable air conditioners are present in the majority of rooms and insulation films have been put on the windows. Much work has also been done on food with lighter menus, ice cream, cold meat, fruit and salads. We also have "heat wave specialists" during the months of July and August, responsible for ensuring the residents' hydration: young students go around the rooms to encourage them to drink and accompany them to the refreshed rooms.

Keeping the elderly in an air-conditioned enclosed space, is this compatible with the precautionary measures required by the Covid-19 crisis?

We are very vigilant about respecting barrier gestures. In refreshed spaces, a distance of two meters is imposed between each person. In the mess halls, we turn on the air conditioning before residents come in for meals and turn it off when they are in the room.

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Do residents need to be reassured?

They were afraid. They saw some of them leave. They are told that it is important to wear the mask outside of their room, that they should use the hydroalcoholic gel regularly. During visits, we involve families to encourage their loved ones to drink.

The heat wave is a difficulty that comes on top of the Covid-19. Will medical personnel be able to cope?

Yes, the Covid-19 is another difficulty and we have increased the number of breaks to help caregivers recover. Conditions are not easy: staff wear masks, as do residents when they are not in their private room. We have just lived through complicated months, we barely had time to get our heads out of the water and now we have to face the heatwave. We will have to hold out until September. In addition, the Covid-19 still exists and we are doing everything to ensure that it does not enter our home again.

What have you learned from the health crisis and the successive heat waves?

All of this should, as of now, encourage us to think about the nursing homes of tomorrow. The Covid-19 and the increasingly long and hotter heat waves are pushing us to rethink the living spaces for dependent elderly people in our establishments.

(1) The nine departments placed on heat wave red alert: Paris, Essonne, Yvelines, Val d´Oise, Val-de-Marne, Seine-Saint-Denis, Hauts-de-Seine, Eure and Seine-Maritime.

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The level of this artificial lake has dropped by nearly 20 cm and the temperature of its water reached nearly 29 degrees during the heatwave © PELE / SIPA This exceptional fish mortality is a "first" in the Val-d'Oise, specifies the prefecture POLLUTION - The level of this artificial lake has dropped by nearly 20 cm and the temperature of its water has reached nearly 29 degrees during the heatwave Sad spectacle.

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