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Health Board Warns that Checking on Vulnerable Neighbours Could Save Lives as Temperatures Plummet

Tuesday 16th January 2024

With icy temperatures spreading across the UK, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board has urged Gwent residents to check in on vulnerable members of the community to ensure they are safe and well – and has warned that this could even save a life.

In winter months, most of us are at risk of needing a little extra care, but for the more vulnerable members of the community, there is an increased risk of becoming severely unwell or injured, and requiring a hospital admission.

In lower temperatures, vulnerable people – such as those who are older or frail, particularly if they live alone - are more at risk of slipping or falling on ice; of becoming unwell due to winter viruses such as coughs, colds, Covid-19 or flu; of aggravating any existing respiratory conditions, and of suffering from hypothermia.

The Health Board is asking Gwent residents to help keep vulnerable members of the community well and out of hospital over the winter period by calling in or keeping in contact to check they’re ok, as well as picking up essentials on their behalf to discourage them from leaving the house in colder weather.

Families, friends and neighbours can play big part in keeping loved ones safe and well by checking that they are warm and comfortable with access to heating, blankets, warm clothing, and hot food and drinks; that they have plenty of nutritious food to support their immune system; that their medicine cabinet well-stocked; that they have hard bottom slippers to prevent falls at home; and that they have plenty of regular medication.

Dr James Calvert, Medical Director for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, said:

“Local residents can really help us by looking after themselves and their loved ones this winter. We know that vulnerable members of our communities are more susceptible to falls and the effects of the colder weather during the winter months, so checking in on elderly family members and neighbours could prevent them coming to harm and also help to reduce pressure on our precious NHS services.”

Ensuring any minor illnesses are treated at an early stage by a local Pharmacist or GP will also prevent those who are vulnerable from becoming more seriously unwell. When in need of medical help, anyone who is unsure of where to go should visit the Gwent Health Guide for localised advice: Gwent Health Guide - Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (