Safety First

I laughed to myself as I typed in the title for this post; A post I try to do once a year at this time of year in regards to heat safety. I laughed because I am burnt to a crisp after spending 2 days in the sun with out the proper protection. And the funny thing is is that this happens to me EVERY YEAR. And every year I say, nope, NOT next year. It’s embarrassing. But you know what’s NOT funny or embarrassing? Skin cancer. A very real threat that shouldn’t be taken lightly. I tell you I am PAYING in spades today for my stupidity. Not only do I look like a tomato with raccoon eyes, but I feel like absolute crap.

I like to talk about this not just for OUR safety, but for those we as PSWS take care of. The biggest problem I have in working with seniors in the summer is getting them to drink water. Or any liquid for that matter. Even if you’re not thirsty, I can’t write for words HOW important this is. I’ve seen people faint; become delusional, lethargy and a whole slew of other ailments that could be prevented with one simple trick.

So far this season I haven’t had too many concerns with those that I visit. But EVERY TIME I am there I make a point of emphasizing water, water and MORE water. My clients have told me that drinking a lot is a concern due to incontinence issues. I’d rather a slightly wet pant than a trip to emergency, and once they get that thought through their head they usually comply.

Do any of you have trouble with this as well? If so I’d LOVE to hear your feedback and any tips & tricks you may have.

And remember. Wear sunscreen.

Heat Wave.

Come January you will not hear me complain about the cold. I may have a few choice words regarding the snow & it’s nasty ambition to destroy my commute, but otherwise I’m quiet. Come July… or in this case, today, May 28th, I’m a bitch. I’ll be honest. The heat and me do NOT get a long. At least, not while I’m in the city breathing in smog & working in what to me feels like a sauna. And it’s this time of year – whether you’re a beach babe or not – that you, as a working PSW need to be careful.

Now, I can’t speak for EVERY work place, but I can tell you that mine is unbearably hot at times. In my personal opinion, it’s because they’re cheap (let’s face it, in most cases this is true) so they won’t turn on the AC until June or July. To cope, I drink copious amounts of water. A lot of my co workers make fun of me because A) I LOVE ice water, even in winter & B) I drink so much that they worry they’ll have to give me an incontinence product to wear. But in all seriousness, keeping hydrated is a MUST while you’re working, especially in the summer. NOT pop (hello dehydrating sugar fluid) but water. Even flavoured water, with lemons, limes, cucumbers, mint, etc. Push yourself to drink it and you’ll find yourself not quite as bitchy.

Take your breaks. Sweltering summer weather is not the time to be a hero and work straight through the 8 hour shift. Co ordinate with co workers so that you all have time to leave the floor and catch a breather. Remember that thing… what’s it called, oh, TEAM WORK, that I’m always on about? Now’s another good time to use it.

And obviously, make sure that your residents are as comfortable as they can be.

For more information on how NOT to die in the summer heat, check out St. John’s Ambulance page onĀ Heat Exhaustion & Sun Stroke Prevention