Private Care Services Responding to Heat Wave - Case Finland

Friday, 20 July 2018: 09:30
Oral Presentation
Merja RAPELI, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Finland
Helena MUSSALO-RAUHAMAA, University of Helsinki, Finland
Global warming increases the amount of disasters. Consequences of weather related risks on social, economic and ecological environment are, thus, greater than before. As disaster impacts are worst for vulnerable people we need knowledge how these population groups have been protected in case of disturbances. Preparedness and continuity planning is obligatory for municipal care services in Finland. The legal obligation does not, though, apply to the private services, which produce more than one third of the residential care services in Finland. In our study we explored private residential care services’ adoption of mitigation activities after heat wave in 2014 and preparedness measures taken. We sent a questionnaire to all private enterprises producing residential care services in Finland. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data. The clients in these services were the elderly, people with disabilities, clients with mental health and substance abuse disorders, and children taken into care. Our findings showed that especially the elderly and clients with mental health problems and neurological disorders were affected the most of heat. Even though the service units tried to do their best to alleviate the consequences of heat they had not considered heat wave could be a risk for their clients and the quality of the service produced. Only 19 percent of the respondents reported that they had a preparedness or continuity plan. The most vulnerable to disasters are people dependent on others such as clients of residential care services. Consequently, we recommend that private care services should be prepared for hazards and include heat wave as one of the risks to be prepared for.