Reducing the health risks of severe winter weather among older people in the United Kingdom: an evidence-based intervention

Gascoigne, Claire and Morgan, Kevin and Gross, Harriet and Goodwin , James (2010) Reducing the health risks of severe winter weather among older people in the United Kingdom: an evidence-based intervention. Ageing and Society, 30 (2). pp. 275-297. ISSN 0144-686X

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Reducing the health risks of severe winter weather among older people in the United Kingdom: an evidence-based intervention
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X09990298

Abstract

Excess winter morbidity and mortality among older people remain significant public health issues in those European countries which experience relatively mild winter temperatures, particularly the United Kingdom (UK), Ireland, Portugal and Spain. In the UK, episodes of severe winter weather, when ambient temperatures fall below 5x C, are associated with peaks in general practitioner consultations,hospital admissions, and cardiovascular deaths among those aged over 65. While research indicates that such health risks could be substantially reduced
by the adoption of appropriate behavioural strategies, accessible and credible advice on how older people can reduce risk during ‘cold snaps’ is lacking. This paper describes a programme of research that aimed: (a) to translate the relevant scientific literature into practical advice for older people in order to reduce health risk during episodes of severe winter weather ; and (b) to integrate this advice with a severe winter weather ‘Early Warning System’ developed by the UK Met Office. An advice booklet was generated through a sequential process of systematic review, consensus development, and focus group discussions with older people. In a subsequent field trial, a combination of the Met Office ‘Early Warning System’ and the advice booklet produced behavioural change among
older people consistent with risk reduction. The results also show that long-held convictions about ‘healthy environments ’ and anxieties about fuel costs are barriers
to risk reduction.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:excess winter mortality, fuel poverty, health policy, public health, older people
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C841 Health Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:2876
Deposited By: Alison Wilson
Deposited On:15 Jul 2010 23:51
Last Modified:04 Dec 2013 14:47

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