As winter takes hold and energy costs rise, it is tempting to try and keep residents warm and fuel costs down by hunkering down until the weather gets warmer. But keeping all the windows and doors shut may not be the best idea: homes need ventilation, whether our own or in care homes.
This article published on the Skills for Care guidance pages with input from Breathing City network members Prof. Cath Noakes and Prof. Tim Sharpe explains how, when and why to get ventilation right and limit infection risks in care settings.
Older people are particularly vulnerable to the consequences of respiratory infections. Although vaccination significantly reduces risks of infection, premature death, and disease severity, COVID-19 and influenza outbreaks in care homes still happen. Recognising that effective ventilation needs to be balanced against thermal comfort, we need to make well-informed decisions about what we can do. As people age, become less active and their metabolism drops, they are likely to be more sensitive to the temperature in a home. However, there are still ways of balancing comfort, improved ventilation and better quality of life for staff, visitors and residents.