December 21, 2011
AIR CONDITIONING IN NURSING HOMES
By: Nicole Dube, Associate Analyst
You asked if state law requires Connecticut nursing homes to have air conditioning.
Connecticut law does not require air conditioning in nursing homes. In 2003, the legislature required the Department of Public Health (DPH) to make recommendations for minimum and maximum temperatures (CGS § 19a-522a). While minimum temperatures have been set in regulations for some time, DPH never recommended maximum temperatures. The only specific reference to temperature in regulations requires areas residents use to have a minimum temperature of 75 degrees; all other occupied areas must have a temperature of at least 70 degrees (Public Health Code 19-13-D8t(d)(4)). In addition, DPH annually issues a notice of “Recommendations for Management of Nursing Home Residents During Hot Weather” just before summer begins.
In 2010, PA 10-117 removed the requirement that DPH (1) adopt recommendations for temperature levels in nursing homes; (2) make them available to nursing homes, rest homes, and the public; and (3) post them on its website. It instead allows nursing homes to maintain temperatures in resident rooms and other areas residents use that are lower than Public Health Code minimum standards if they comply with federal “comfortable and safe” temperature standards. Federal regulations require nursing homes initially certified after October 1, 1990 to maintain a temperature range of 71-81 degrees Fahrenheit (42 CFR 483.15(h)(6)).