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This is how healthcare prepared for the heat wave

This is how healthcare prepared for the heat wave

Previous forecasts warned that this summer could be as hot as 2018, when Sweden recorded an additional 700 deaths. This led the government to issue a warning at the start of the summer, urging all businesses to review their business plans and prepare for heatwaves.

The heat drove him to care in previous years. In 2018 alone, there were many alarms about the difficult conditions for both staff and patients across the country. It could be the high internal temperatures in the wards and the high humidity that slowed the surgical work.

For example, staff sounded the alarm about temperatures of up to 30 degrees in Västervik Hospital. After the summer of 2018, the Kalmar Lan region acquired portable air conditioners, a solution that, however, has certain hygiene limitations. In terms of new and rebuild, central cooling is pulled. But if temperatures remain above 30 for a longer period of time, it is possible that some of the older cooling systems will not cope, the district’s press department tells Läkartidningen.

In Nea Karolinska in Solna, ventilation problems in 2018 led to dampness in some operating rooms. Since then, the university hospital has reviewed heatwave procedures. This includes, for example, mobile refrigeration systems and smoother ways of communication between the chief physician and property management. The press department announced that, prior to this summer, a plan was in place that would include, for example, more breaks in the operating schedule if necessary. In the event that there is a period of high temperature and high humidity, then individual planned operations may have to be postponed.

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At Sollefteå in Västernorrland, for example, all operations had to be canceled at times in the summer of 2018 when the humidity was very high. At Sundsvall, their main and somewhat unique cooling system had run out of ice stored and they had to switch to ’emergency cooling’ with things like x-rays and surgery prioritized, while comfort cooling was prioritized. And last year, all MRI cameras had to be taken out of use for a few days.

Since 2018, Sollefteå Hospital has received a completely new cooling system, but currently no district hospitals have cooling systems in all buildings, says Rikard Norlin, unit chief at Regionfastigheter in charge of Sollefteå Hospital, among others. However, the entire county has received X-ray dehumidification systems after previous years’ problems.

– I think we have taken many measures and tried to find ways. But it’s hard, says Ricard Norlin in terms of combating the heat peak.

And he’s had several health care calls this summer when it was hot. It often refers to the internal procedures that have been developed that indicate how to prioritize the use of refrigeration systems. Medication rooms, patient halls and some computers are mainly cooled. Workspaces for administration come at the bottom of the list.

Because we wouldn’t be able to cool that kind of heat. it’s not possible. So we have to have this order of priorities.

For example, will you be able to operate MR cameras in the county all summer?

– Yes, we really hope so, because we have invested a lot there, both money and effort. But nothing can ever be guaranteed.

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Equipment such as MRI cameras and ray guns contain special cooling equipment.

As a final step, we can deliver city water. Among other things, it is precisely about medical equipment, says Jenny Svensson, head of the unit responsible for Sundsvall Hospital.

What are the conditions for dealing with priority areas during a heat wave?

– We feel safe with our basic conditions. We can handle a lot of icy cold, but then we also have the supplements.

In primary care, there are no central cooling systems installed, instead portable air conditioning equipment is used.

From Sunderby Hospital in Norrbotten, there were also alerts about indoor temperatures rising near the 30-degree mark in the summer of 2018. But the problems weren’t that great, says the district’s press department. In an assessment after that summer, it was judged that readiness for heat waves could remain at the same level as before.

Read also:
The government warns of a heat wave
Emergency Cooling, Operations Canceled and Temperatures Continue to Rise (2018)