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Minimising harm to older Victorians from heatwaves: A qualitative study of the role of community-based health profession and carer organisations

Authors

  • Judith A McInnes,

    1. Centre for Research Excellence in Patient Safety, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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  • Joseph E Ibrahim

    1. Centre for Research Excellence in Patient Safety, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Ms Judith A. McInnes, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Alfred Hospital. Email: judy.mcinnes@med.monash.edu.au

Abstract

Aim:  To investigate the role of community-based health profession and carer organisations in Victoria in minimising harm to older people from heatwaves.

Methods:  A qualitative study based on semistructured interviews was conducted in Victoria, Australia. Twelve people were interviewed, representing four professional groups that support the health of older Victorians who reside at home.

Results:  None of the health profession and carer organisations studied had formalised heatwave strategies; however, their staff conduct a range of activities before and during heatwaves that may reduce harm to older clients. Interviewees discussed roles their organisations could play in a heatwave response plan, including coordination, identification of high-risk individuals and education. All saw a need for extra resources and training if responses to heatwaves were required more frequently.

Conclusion:  It may be feasible to utilise the existing services and infrastructure of community-based health profession and carer organisations operating in Victoria within a State-wide Heatwave Response plan; however, this will require extra resources, training and coordination.

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