Health Impact of Climate Change in Older People: An Integrative Review and Implications for Nursing

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 2017, 49 (6), pp. 670 - 678
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© 2017 Sigma Theta Tau International Purpose: Older people account for the highest proportion of mortality from extreme weather events associated with climate change. This article aims to describe the health impacts of climate change on older people. Type of Study: An integrative review was conducted with 30 studies retrieved from PubMed, EBSCO, and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) on climate stressors, determinants of resilient capacity, risk factors, and health outcomes. Findings: Heat, temperature variability, and air pollution increase mortality risk in older people, especially from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Floods are linked with increasing incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. Facing these adversities, older people exhibit both vulnerability and resilience. Conclusions: Research gaps exist in understanding the full spectrum of the resilience experience of older people, and appreciating areas wherein nursing can play a pivotal role. Clinical Relevance: Recognizing the vulnerabilities of older people in the context of climate change is important. Identifying opportunities to promote resilience is an important focus for nurses to develop tailored and targeted nursing interventions.
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