With summer safety training, your care team is better prepared to give seniors the care they need.
This summer 2023 is expected to be hot in large swaths of the U.S., including the east coast. That makes this early June the time to remind your team how to keep seniors safe outside, especially in the heat.
By making summer safety training engaging to watch and easy to complete, your home health or skilled nursing staff can comply with state and federal regulations while keeping everyone safer.
Here’s what you need to know to conduct effective safety training at your facility this summer.
Why now is a key time for summer safety training
When it comes to seasonal safety, most people think of winter risks of falls. But, spending more time outside can lead to additional risks for staff and residents. For example, high heat can put people at risk for heat exhaustion or heat stroke, and recognizing the signs is essential.
You also want to ensure your staff is trained for situations more likely to occur in the summers, such as elopement and falls on uneven ground. Fortunately, you can conduct training quickly and easily with online training options that fit your employees' schedules.
Electrolytes can get low when someone is outside in hot weather without enough water. Older adults are especially vulnerable to these fluctuations because they are less likely to be thirsty even when dehydrated.
Your team should be trained to keep residents well-hydrated and watch for symptoms of electrolyte problems. Symptoms include:
- Muscle weakness or spasms
- Confusion and irritability
- Irregular or fast heart rate
- Numbness or tingling in limbs, fingers or toes
Blood tests can help diagnose an electrolyte imbalance so it can be corrected.
Adults who are 65 and older are more vulnerable to health problems caused by heat. Their bodies don’t adjust to temperature changes as well, and they may have prescription medications that impact their body’s ability to regulate temperature.
Train your team to limit residents’ heat exposure and to watch for symptoms such as:
- Dizziness or faintness
- Heat cramps
- Swelling in feet or ankles
- Heat rash
- Lack of coordination
Heat stroke is defined as a body temperature above 104 and is a medical emergency. Ensure that your employees know how to react to heat-related symptoms and what to do in an emergency.
When residents get outside more, it can help their mood, mobility and overall health. However, there’s also an increased risk of falls when residents are outside their familiar environment.
With proper training, your team can keep residents safer by taking precautions like:
- Avoiding uneven surfaces and walkways
- Ensuring residents use walking aids as needed
- Pointing out curbs or steps
- Staying in well-lit areas
- Staying indoors in poor weather
Avoiding falls can help dramatically reduce health concerns and morbidity in older adults, so it’s worth the time to train your team on this important safety issue.
When a senior disappears from a facility or home, it’s terrifying. Safety standards are essential to prevent elopement, especially if you care for patients with dementia or other serious health concerns.
In training, you can teach your team:
- The facility’s safety measures like alarmed doors and wander management systems
- The signs of resident dissatisfaction and attempts to leave
- How to conduct assessments of wandering risks
- How to educate visitors about wandering to minimize risk during visits
- The importance of never disabling safety systems
Summer safety training helps residents stay safe and avoids dangers when a resident leaves unsupervised.
Take advantage of online summer safety training for your team
One reason that training — including safety training — doesn’t happen as often as it should is that getting staff in one place is nearly impossible.
Fortunately, online training makes getting your team up to speed on summer safety training easy. With on-demand online training courses, employees can access information when available, and you have a record of who has completed training to use for compliance reporting.
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