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Article

Thermal Sensation in Older People with and without Dementia Living in Residential Care: New Assessment Approaches to Thermal Comfort Using Infrared Thermography

1
College of Health, Wellbeing and Life Sciences, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield S10 2BP, UK
2
School of Health and Related Research (SCHARR), University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
3
Electronic and Electrical Engineering Department, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
4
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Biomedical Research Centre, Sheffield S10 2JF, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6932; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186932
Received: 14 August 2020 / Revised: 16 September 2020 / Accepted: 18 September 2020 / Published: 22 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Care for Older Adults)
The temperature of the indoor environment is important for health and wellbeing, especially at the extremes of age. The study aim was to understand the relationship between self-reported thermal sensation and extremity skin temperature in care home residents with and without dementia. The Abbreviated Mental Test (AMT) was used to discriminate residents to two categories, those with, and those without, dementia. After residents settled and further explanation of the study given (approximately 15 min), measurements included: tympanic membrane temperature, thermal sensation rating and infrared thermal mapping of non-dominant hand and forearm. Sixty-nine afebrile adults (60–101 years of age) were studied in groups of two to five, in mean ambient temperatures of 21.4–26.6 °C (median 23.6 °C). Significant differences were observed between groups; thermal sensation rating (p = 0.02), tympanic temperature (p = 0.01), fingertip skin temperature (p = 0.01) and temperature gradients; fingertip-wrist p = 0.001 and fingertip-distal forearm, p = 0.001. Residents with dementia were in significantly lower air temperatures (p = 0.001). Although equal numbers of residents per group rated the environment as ‘neutral’ (comfortable), resident ratings for ‘cool/cold’ were more frequent amongst those with dementia compared with no dementia. In parallel, extremity (hand) thermograms revealed visual temperature demarcation, variously across fingertip, wrist, and forearm commensurate with peripheral vasoconstriction. Infrared thermography provided a quantitative and qualitative method to measure and observe hand skin temperature across multiple regions of interest alongside thermal sensation self-report. As an imaging modality, infrared thermography has potential as an additional assessment technology with clinical utility to identify vulnerable residents who may be unable to communicate verbally, or reliably, their satisfaction with indoor environmental conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: infrared thermography; cutaneous temperature; skin blood flow; dementia; body temperature; thermal sensation; thermal comfort; imaging; mapping; environmental temperature; frailty infrared thermography; cutaneous temperature; skin blood flow; dementia; body temperature; thermal sensation; thermal comfort; imaging; mapping; environmental temperature; frailty
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MDPI and ACS Style

Childs, C.; Elliott, J.; Khatab, K.; Hampshaw, S.; Fowler-Davis, S.; Willmott, J.R.; Ali, A. Thermal Sensation in Older People with and without Dementia Living in Residential Care: New Assessment Approaches to Thermal Comfort Using Infrared Thermography. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 6932. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186932

AMA Style

Childs C, Elliott J, Khatab K, Hampshaw S, Fowler-Davis S, Willmott JR, Ali A. Thermal Sensation in Older People with and without Dementia Living in Residential Care: New Assessment Approaches to Thermal Comfort Using Infrared Thermography. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(18):6932. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186932

Chicago/Turabian Style

Childs, Charmaine, Jennifer Elliott, Khaled Khatab, Susan Hampshaw, Sally Fowler-Davis, Jon R. Willmott, and Ali Ali. 2020. "Thermal Sensation in Older People with and without Dementia Living in Residential Care: New Assessment Approaches to Thermal Comfort Using Infrared Thermography" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 18: 6932. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186932

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