Over the coming winter months, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar aims to provide a comprehensive Health and Social Care service. However, the Comhairle would remind people that there may be extreme weather conditions, which could potentially result in care staff being physically unable to travel to service users’ homes.
The Comhairle will aim to offset this situation and contingency plans will be implemented on behalf of those service users deemed to be most at risk. The service manager with responsibility for home care will be writing to all service users to inform them of the measures that will be adopted in the event of extreme weather conditions ordaining it unsafe for carers to travel.
These arrangements have previously involved amendments to times of service delivery, in close consultation with emergency planners, family and representatives of those in receipt of home care. This model will be applied in the event of such situations occurring in the coming winter period to safely manage care needs.
As an integral part of the winter planning, the Comhairle is also seeking the assistance of the wider community, especially close family members, friends and neighbours, by visiting or phoning vulnerable neighbours in times of severe weather to check that they are safe and well.
It is important for older and vulnerable people or those in poor health, and those around them, to be aware of the potential risks associated with cold weather. In particular, extreme cold can make heart and respiratory problems worse and is a concern where people are not able to heat their homes adequately.
When visiting or calling elderly or vulnerable people, it’s important to check;
- If they are generally feeling happy and well
- That their homes are adequately heated
- That they are getting at least one hot meal a day
- That they have all the groceries that they need
- That they have all the medication they need
People are advised to:
- Have regular hot drinks and, if possible, at least one hot meal a day. Eating regularly helps to keep energy levels up during winter
- Wear several light layers of warm clothes
- Keep as active as possible
- Remember to wrap up warm if you need to go outside
- Keep your home at the right temperature – between 18 and 21 degrees centigrade. We are also asking people to take some simple steps during the cold weather to stay warm
Iain MacAulay, Director of Social and Community Services, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said: “As we prepare ourselves for the winter months it is essential to ensure that the boilers and central heating systems of our vulnerable, elderly friends and relatives are in working order and that an adequate supply of fuel is ordered in advance.
“It’s also very important to check that people are wearing appropriately warm clothing and that they are getting a hot meal. Not keeping warm enough during cold winter months can exacerbate existing health conditions. Staying warm is vital.
“It might seem like a small gesture, but visiting or picking up the phone to call someone living on their own can make a real difference to their wellbeing. We’re encouraging people to take a few minutes out of their day to think of those around them; consider the difference a phone call or visit could make to someone spending the Christmas and New Year period alone.”
The first point of contact for people worried about themselves or their neighbours needing assistance should contact FAIRE on 01851 701702. For a medical emergency call 999.