Jul. 3—As temperatures soared to historic highs over the weekend and Monday,
With no central air conditioning, the nearly 100-year-old building and its 300 senior residents relied on portable AC units, fans and larger-scale cooling units borrowed from hospitals. Residents gathered in the long-term care facility's café, the primary air-conditioned spot on the
The heat wave was unprecedented, marking the hottest days ever recorded in
"Every summer we are seeing and receiving increased complaints or concerns about buildings being overly warm due to temps outside, poor air ventilation and circulation in the building and/or lack of opened windows or shade management," said
Older adults are more prone to heat-related illnesses and death than other groups, according to the federal
It's unclear whether any lived at a long-term care facility, as medical examiners' offices don't release addresses. But Hunter said she received complaints from family members of residents about the conditions at various buildings. A friend told her that the friend's mother, who lives in a nursing home, was lethargic and warm, and the windows in her room were wide open, with the heat of the day pouring in.
"Needless to say, my friend was not happy about the situation and immediately got to work to cool her mother down," Hunter said.
Air conditioning regulations vary depending on the type of long-term care facility, and the state does not track how many facilities have air conditioning.
Nursing homes built after 2000 are required to have air conditioning, according to the state
"We need funding to address the infrastructure needs of long-term care to ensure the entire system for the next excessive heat wave," Murphy said.
"The concern is that some of them might be older and not able to keep up with temperatures we had over the weekend," Dale said.
Assisted-living facilities must have air conditioning or some type of cooling system capable of keeping the facility at 75 degrees, if temperatures hit 85 degrees or higher, 2% of the year — about seven or eight days, well under
Providence recently installed central corridor air on one of its skilled nursing floors, which cost
The state doesn't have specific AC requirements for adult family homes, which provide care for up to six non-related people in a residential setting. Over the weekend, some providers whose homes don't have AC rented hotel rooms for exceptionally frail residents, according to
Temperature control has long been a challenge in adult family homes, Ficker said, noting that it's not uncommon to have a resident who is always hot, and another who is always cold. And most homes use a residential heating and cooling system that can't be adjusted in each room. He called AC not required, but "best practice" in designing homes.
"Now that we anticipate more 100-plus degree days and also considering what we learned about airflow during this pandemic, we are definitely working to explore options," he said.
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