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DEMENTIA CARE Jaga turns up

the heat on LST radiators

Kirsten Palmer-Jeffery, Marketing Manager at Jaga, explores the prioritisation of heating safety in dementia-friendly care homes and offers advice to all care providers.

There are many illnesses and physical ailments that must be accounted for in the design and operation of care homes. Some are relatively straight- forward to accommodate; others can be more challenging.

Approximately 80% of care home residents live with some form of dementia and it is perhaps the most unpredictable disorder that must be considered by care home operators. With a vast array of symptoms including confusion, memory loss, disorientation or limited coordination – each affecting care home residents to varying degrees – different safety standards need to be considered.

Whilst there is no one-size-fits-all practice of care, any risk to dementia patients in their living environments must be rectified to make it as safe a space as possible.

Understanding the risks Perhaps the biggest concern for care home operators is that people with dementia may not recognise when or why they might be at risk. That is why radiators present a real danger to sufferers; exposure to hot surfaces and sharp edges can put residents at risk.

This was recently found to be the case in a UK care home, where broken radiator covers and high surface temperatures were found to be putting residents at risk. One resident suffered a minor burn from an exposed and scalding radiator in a communal area of the Gables Residential Home in Market Harborough, where treatment was

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required from a district nurse. The Care Quality Commission ordered the care home to make marked improvements to enhance safety and provide the appropriate level of care.

operators is tat people wit dementia may not recognise when or why tey might be at risk.”

This sort of case is not uncommon and something must be done to guarantee the safety and wellbeing of care home residents. Low Surface Temperature (LST) radiators are the recommended solution across any healthcare application, but their safety benefits are particularly important for care homes which cater for dementia sufferers.

The outer casing of these radiators remains cool to touch even at high flow temperatures, never getting hotter than 43°C in accordance with NHS Estates Health Guidance Notes. Furthermore, all the ancillary piping and components are safely concealed with this protective LST cocoon, so there are no harmful surfaces exposed to the residents. This all but eradicates the threat of a resident burning themselves through prolonged contact with a radiator.

“Perhaps te biggest concern for care home

Considerations should also be given to the design of the radiator casing. LST radiator casings should feature rounded corners to minimise any chance of harm should contact occur.

Importance of efficiency Energy efficiency is also an important consideration for care home operators, and it is recommended that the LST radiators which are specified are also low-mass, low- water content products which use significantly less water than standard steel panel radiators. Of course, the lower the water content, the faster the heating system can respond; offering lower fuel bills and a higher level of comfort for residents – something which is particularly important for dementia patients.

Care homes face a myriad of challenges in keeping their residents happy, healthy, safe and comfortable. By specifying LST radiators which contain Low-H2O technology, care home operators can feel confident in the knowledge that they have the safest and most efficient heating solution available.

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