Indoor Temperature Control

High temperatures can increase risk of heat stress, heat exhaustion and heatstroke, so it is important to keep indoor temperature safe, especially for our most vulnerable.

Public Health advice for parents

It is advisable to use a room thermometer to check that the room your baby sleeps in is at 16 degrees C to 20 degrees C. Your baby should not sleep in direct sunlight.

Advice for health services during heatwaves

Heatwaves are known to result in increased deaths or serious illness and no segment of the population may be considered protected from the risks associated with heatwaves. However, those at most risk include the elderly, the sick, infants and small children. 

Health services need to ensure that a safe, climate-controlled environment exists for the delivery of care to their patients or service users.

Target temperatures

Room temperature should be about 20 degrees Centigrade.

HSE Sustainability Office indicates the temperature of 18 – 23 degrees is the comfortable range.

In the Heatwave Plan for England, 26 degrees is used as the upper limit for cool areas. 

Ideally, all patients and particularly those who are most vulnerable should be cared for in cool areas unless there is a clinical reason for this not to be the case.


The environmental temperature experienced by each patient should be considered – if there are differences, each individual situation needs to be risk assessed and managed. In the absence of automatic climate control that maintains an ideal temperature at all times, the following are recommended:

1.     Draw up a plan for monitoring temperatures

2.     Measure the temperature, taking into account variability over the day and night

3.     Identify places that are cool/comfortable temperatures throughout the day and night (<26 degrees)

4.     Identify places that have temperature problems that need to be addressed.

Respond immediately to uncomfortable ambient temperatures to ensure they return to comfortable temperatures quickly or move the patient to a suitable environment.


  • Continue comprehensive temperature assessing as above (1-4)
  • Ensure cool areas are kept below 26 degrees
  • Review and prioritise high-risk patients
  • Ensure sufficient cold water and ice
  • Consider weighing patients regularly to identify dehydration and rescheduling physiotherapy to cooler hours
  • Communicate alerts to staff and ensure they are aware of heatwave plans
  • Ensure sufficient staffing
  • Activate plans to maintain business continuity - including a possible surge in demand. Balance business continuity with the ability to provide safe service in a comfortable environment.
  • Ensure staff help and advise patients, including providing access to cool rooms, close monitoring of vulnerable individuals, and reducing initial temperatures through measures including:
    • Fans and air conditioning while ensuring compliance with infection prevention and control - see guidelines for the use of fans in healthcare settings
    • Shading
    • Turning off unnecessary lights/ equipment
    • Cooling building at night
    • Ensuring discharge planning takes home temperature and support into account
  • Report the emergence of challenges to senior management


Continuously monitor and evaluate climate control to ensure the achievement of safe ambient temperatures in patient care spaces with reporting on success and issues arising.