Feb 18, 2019

Mandatory Air-Conditioning in Aged Care No Longer A Priority

There’s nothing quite like the Australian summer. Searing temperatures, high winds, and prolonged heat waves can have devastating consequences on our plant life, our animals and even our people.

Elderly Australians are particularly vulnerable during the summer months, with issues like heat stroke, dehydration, exhaustion, and heat syncope all being very real possibilities for those who are unable to get cool and stay hydrated.

And one of the recommendations that come up over and over again in order to avoid these types of heat-related ailments, is for elderly people to spend as much time in air-conditioned environments as possible.

It is so important in fact, that elderly people without air conditioning are often told to utilise public spaces like shopping centres and libraries during the hottest periods of the day and take advantage of their air conditioning in order to stay cool.

Seeing as air conditioning is such a vital component of ensuring that an elderly person is safe from these issues in the summer months, it should be no surprise that the topic of mandatory air-conditioning in aged care facilities is starting to heat up.

The Australian Government have recently released their eight Aged Care Quality Standards that will come into effect from July 1st and apply to all aged care services.

And one area of importance that seems to have vanished from the standards was an apparent clause that previously referred to aged care services providing “comfortable internal temperatures,” that is now missing from the published aged care standards.

Aged care industry peak body Leading Aged Services Australia (LASA) were given the opportunity to provide comments on the draft version of the Aged Care Quality Standards, and expressed initial concerns at the idea of all services requiring air-conditioning on page 14 of their document.

The final set of guidelines appears to have adapted a more vague approach in terms of its service environment standards, removing any notion of internal temperature control and replacing it with broader terms like ‘a safe and comfortable environment’ instead.

Seemingly opening loopholes for any service provider who chooses not to provide air conditioning for their residents.

The NSW president of the Australian Medical Association, Dr. Kean-Seng Lim, told HelloCare that providing a comfortable and controlled environment without air-conditioning was possible, but there was definitely an element of risk involved in forgoing making air-conditioning mandatory.

“There is a definite risk that if a facility has not been specifically designed to accommodate high temperatures that it can create an environment that is not conducive with comfortable and controlled temperatures.”

“The older that people are, the more difficult it comes to be able to control their body temperature. And those 65 and over are at a heightened risk of complications due to the heat.”

“People in aged care environments often require medication to assist with various issues, and the use of medication can make it even more difficult to regulate their body temperatures.”

When asked why any aged care service providers would be opposed to making air conditioning mandatory within an aged care setting, Dr. Kean-Seng Lim was quick to deliver his diagnosis.

“I wonder if it simply comes down to the increased costs.” said Dr. Lim.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Is the Australian Government doing all they can to kill off anybody over 65 by taking the things from them that they will not do without? I have never heard of a politician spending time in a building or office without air conditioning and who pays for that? The people and their taxes. Most elderly have worked all their lives and paid exorbitant taxes only to be thrown on an elderly stack pile. Don’t forget everyone gets old – I hope they do the same to you.

  2. i have insomnia, tinnitus , vertigo, i don’t feel my feet , depression, psoriasis artritic … i cant sleep , to hot in Redcliffe , the air conditioner will help me sleep , I have a ceeling fan , but it only make the hot air run around the room, Im 78, i only wish to die , my life is a very bad experience , living by my self, not help from the family , i have help from age care , each month have money left in my age care account , but i can’t used for something that i really need , what help is that ???


Turn Your Bathroom Upside Down: Safety Proofing Your Bathroom for an Elderly Loved One

“Persons between the age of 75 and 85 are twice as likely as the average person to suffer a nonfatal injury in the bathroom.” ~ The CDCThis is why the bathroom is one of the first areas you should work to safety proof in your loved one’s home. While you may think this is something... Read More

How person-centred care can improve outcomes for people with dementia

Person-centred care is seen as one of the best ways forward for aged care - it puts the person first in decision-making and treats them with dignity and respect. But often those decisions are impacted when cognitive decline occurs. Read More

Christmas brunch for isolated older people gave John his first shared Christmas in 30 years

Last year, 90 year old John Steele took part in the annual More the Merrier campaign. That Christmas brunch marked the first in 30 years he’d spent with others. Read More