Heaters: a seasonal reminder

During the winter months the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner regularly receives a few complaints which highlight the need for care in using heaters in residential care services and the potential danger to residents.

Last winter the former Aged Care Complaints Scheme saw three cases which particularly highlighted the need for caution in placing residents’ beds and chairs near heaters, even when the heaters are hydronic (water filled radiators) and therefore have no flames or hot air.

Given the arrival of the cold weather, we would like to remind providers to be aware of the potential burns hazard, to check the proximity of residents’ beds and chairs to heaters, and to consider if there is a likelihood of limbs coming into contact with the heater. This should include the area surrounding heaters in the event of a resident falling against or onto a heater and being unable to summon help.

Simple actions such as these can minimise the risk of injury to residents while at the same time continuing to ensure they are cosy and warm.