Published: November 14, 2023
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Summer Clinical Alert: Caring for older people in hot weather

The unprecedented high temperatures across Australia during spring and confirmation of an El Niño weather phenomenon for the 2023-24 summer both foreshadow the likelihood of multiple heatwaves in coming months.

It is vital that aged care providers recognise and prepare for the risks that heatwaves present for older people.

While very high temperatures can affect people differently, it is known that frail older people are at higher risk of hospitalisation and even death when exposed to extreme heat. A recent report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare indicated that extreme heat accounted for 7,104 injury hospitalisations and 293 deaths in Australia over the 10 years from July 2012 to June 2022. Heatwave-related deaths during this period spiked during severe El Niño years, such as during 2014, 2016, and across 2019 and 2020. In the 3 years from July 2019 to June 2022, people aged 65 and over were the most commonly hospitalised age cohort of all those admitted to hospital for heat-related injuries.

Read more:

Summer clinical alert: Caring for older people in hot weather

Letter from the Commissioner – Preparing for the high-risk weather season (.pdf)

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