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What to Look for With Nursing Home Climate

Written by NHAbuseGuide on August 1, 2015

What to Look for With Nursing Home Climate

In 2010 and 2013, the interior temperatures of the International Space Station rose almost out of control due to a malfunctioning pump. The scientists inside were forced to work in temperatures soaring to nearly 100 degrees Fahrenheit until they could do a space walk and make the repairs. How does that story relate to nursing home climate? It is simple: if you choose a nursing home that does not keep a comfortable climate, you or a loved one could be as trapped in those intolerable conditions as the scientists onboard the space station.

Prolonged exposure to temperatures that are too hot or too cold will take a toll on the body, and will cause the kind of emotional upset and stress that can only harm the individual.

Though it may seem like a minor issue to you as you consider the different options you have where nursing homes are concerned, do not ignore the climate. One scientific journal says, “The indoor climate in nursing homes can play a significant role in residents’ health.” Going on to look at airborne substances, toxins, pollutants, and irritants, the article notes that a senior’s defenses may be easily affected by the air quality.

The issue is so serious that several kinds of legislation have been put in place to regulate indoor temperatures ensuring optimal health for residents. Yet the issues of climate go beyond just heating and cooling. From problems with basic breathing due to lung and air passage irritation to risks to the cardiovascular system, the climate in a nursing home is a very important issue.

Monitoring Conditions

This makes it of the utmost importance to do at least one or two visits before choosing a nursing home. Go at different times of day, and in different weather conditions (if possible). When you visit, try to do so when air-conditioning (whether heating or cooling) may be at work. Get a good idea of the ambient temperatures and conditions, and begin to base your decision on what you discover.

Consider the following factors:

  • Is the air hot and dry? Warm and moist? Cold and dry? Damp and clammy?
  • Does it seem that there is a constant odor similar to mildew or chemicals?
  • Is the air circulating or is it stagnant?
  • Are there any air filters at work? Can patients request them if they suffer respiratory problems?
  • Will bedding have protective covers to eliminate dust mites and bacterial issues?
  • Are there air quality checks?
  • Is the facility apt to use chemical cleansers that impact the air quality?
  • Can a resident control temperatures in their room?
  • Is supplemental heating allowed, i.e. a small space heater?

As you can see, there are many factors to consider and they are all important. The quality of care relates directly to the quality of the air. While you may already know to avoid any facility that has a strong odor of mildew or mold, also keep in mind that an environment strongly scented of cleaners may not be healthy to breathe. Air that is overly dry or temperatures too cold are also risky and have to be considered.

If you cannot experience the facility during heating or cooling season, ask specific questions of the administration and clarify your needs. If you do choose a facility only to discover that the climate is unhealthy, contact the administration, and consider getting in touch with an attorney. The climate of your living environment is a huge factor in wellbeing, and you should take any steps necessary to get the best results.


ScienceNordic.com. Indoor climate in nursing… http://sciencenordic.com/indoor-climate-nursing-homes-can-be-dangerous-residents

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