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Safety, comfort in long-term care homes top priority during heat wave: Interior Health

Some care facilities don’t have air conditioners in individual rooms, only in common areas
Temperatures in Victoria reached 40 degrees on Monday, with records broken all across the province this week. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Despite a record-breaking heat wave across most of the B.C. Interior, not all care homes in the region have air conditioning in their residents’ bedrooms.

While Interior Health (IH) confirmed all of its long-term care homes have AC in common areas, private rooms in some homes don’t have individual units.

And, IH said, the soaring temperatures this past week have created challenges for its older facilities in the region.

In order to keep residents safe and cool during the heat wave, IH has been using fans throughout the homes to circulate the cooler air from the air-conditioned common areas.

“We also shared information prior to the spike in temperatures with all care homes on the importance of keeping residents cool through appropriate clothing, closing blinds to keep temperatures down and opening windows during cooler parts of the day to increase airflow,” IH said in a statement to Black Press Media.

“We are also checking in with residents more frequently to make sure they are comfortable and safe.”

Throughout the City of Kelowna, there have fortunately been no heat-related deaths though the local police have responded to requests for wellness checks due to the high temperatures.

In Vancouver, 98 people have died suddenly during the heat wave, two-thirds of them being people 70 years or older. These deaths have not been confirmed as being heat-related yet, however.

The B.C. Coroners’ Service released a preliminary report showing that throughout the province, there have been 486 deaths during the heat wave.

READ MORE: Weather alert issued for Okanagan-Shuswap

READ MORE: No heat-related deaths in the city: Kelowna RCMP


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Twila Amato

About the Author: Twila Amato

Twila was a radio reporter based in northern Vancouver Island. She won the Jack Webster Student Journalism Award while at BCIT and received a degree in ancient and modern Greek history from McGill University.
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