MPs have urged the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to add heatwave resilience as part of their inspection.
The warnings came from a report by MPs in the House of Commons environmental audit committee and referred to the August 2003 heatwave that resulted in 2,193 deaths in the UK – a quarter of these occurred in care homes.
Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “Heatwaves cause dehydration and can lead to many issues, especially in the frail elderly.”
The Met Office has predicted UK summer temperatures could regularly reach 38 degrees regularly by 2040 and the number of heat related deaths in the UK is expected to more than triple to 7,000 each year by 2050.
MPs revealed homes are not required to report against NHS England’s core standards of Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response (EPRR).
Kathryn Brown, head of Adaptation at the Committee on Climate Change, said: “In our last report we had a recommendation on assessing and managing the risk of overheating in care homes. We did talk to the CQC about what that might look like, but their feeling was at the moment they weren’t sure what they should be inspecting for.”
MPs have since recommended the Department of Health and Social Care provide guidance and tools to the CQC on how they should inspect for risks of overheating in care homes.
Following the publication of this report the CQC has launched its #TempAware campaign to raise awareness of how care homes can protect older people by helping them stay cool during hot weather.
The Met Office has warned Britain’s heatwave could last until October.