Press release 68/24 - 05.06.2024

Heat action plan for Augsburg’s University Hospital

New research project to develop measures to help cope with heatwaves.

A heat action plan for the University Hospital Augsburg is being developed by researchers at the Chair for Regional Climate Change and Health at the Faculty of Medicine in collaboration with the Centre for Occupational Medicine at the University Hospital Augsburg. Over the next two years, researchers in the recently started “ProTect” project will analyse heat stress, develop measures to address it, and then evaluate the measures in order to help the hospital cope with heatwaves.

Sophie Scheidl

 

For a few days now, several small, grey boxes with an umbrella-shaped dome over them have been stationed in several rooms at the University Hospital Augsburg. Their job is to measure temperature and humidity. “For the next two summers, we will be collecting data to assess heat-related health risks,” explains Sophie Scheidl, a researcher at the Chair for Regional Climate Change and Health headed by Prof. Dr Elke Hertig. The aim of the project is to develop a heat action plan for Augsburg’s University Hospital.

“Heatwaves are a noticeable and significant side effect of climate change. The health sector plays an important role in preventing health side-effects, with hospitals and clinics at the interface of at-risk groups such as the sick and the elderly. Action plans to prepare for heatwaves therefore have to be especially developed for hospitals,” explains Scheidl. She wants to find out what is needed to prepare for and adapt to heatwaves in a large hospital and how staff and patients can be better informed and protected.

How to deal with a heatwave?

Alongside quantifying heat stress, Scheidl and the other researchers in the “ProTect” project are compiling an inventory of precautionary and counter measures. Through questionnaires, they are collecting data about how hospital staff perceive heat stress and how much they know about the effects of heat on the mind and body. They are also collecting information about what measures are already in place for heat events such as adjusting room ventilation, the amount patients drink, or the administration of medication.

Following this, they will develop a heat action plan in collaboration with experts and other staff. In the final phase, the plan will be trialled in a test phase and then evaluated. The project runs for an initial two years and aims to develop a permanent heat action plan.

>> www.uni-augsburg.de/de/fakultaet/med/profs/klimawandel-gesundheit/forschung/protect/

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