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Thermal comfort in care homes: vulnerability, responsibility and ‘thermal care’

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Building Research and Information
Issue number2
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)135-146
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date19/01/15
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Care homes are a distinctive setting for the management of thermal comfort due to the expectations involving the provision of both a home environment and caring service. Based on six UK case studies, the care home setting is investigated for how owners, managers and staff understand thermal needs and how their management of thermal comfort is shaped. The core function of good quality care is understood as closely related to the provision of thermal comfort. The association between ‘old and cold' and the obligations that follow for the provision of care are deeply entrenched in activities: such as the provision of hot drinks, use of blankets and the non-stop operation of heating systems. The responsibility for the provision of ‘thermal care' for residents is challenging and complicated by the diversity of people living (and working) together, their occupation of communal spaces, and the interactions between the means of providing thermal comfort and physical safety. The wider implications are identified for the uptake of sustainable technology, patterns of thermal-related vulnerability and, most significantly, for how the ethics, agency and relationality of thermal care provision are to be understood. Future research needs and directions are considered.