A6 – Hospital Resiliency in a New Climate Reality

Cumberland 1/2

Climate change is increasing the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events and natural disasters and it is fueling population health issues and diseases. In turn, we must rethink our assumptions for infrastructure capabilities, redundancies, and disaster preparedness and response in how we design and operate healthcare facilities. Health care organizations also play a key role in community resilience. As anchor institutions, we must help elevate resiliency at a municipal and state level and do our part to support the planning and building of key resiliency and emergency management infrastructure. We must also push our communities to take on a more forward looking outlook on climate impacts, rising sea levels and flood and extreme event risk in regional public policy.

So, why does resilience matter to hospitals and why should health care take this leadership position?

  • We are providing critical care and emergency services (even more important during disasters)
  • Climate change is fueling population health issues and disease
  • We focus on long time horizons when master planning
  • Risk mitigation – expected return on mitigation favorable over building life cycle
  • Accelerating pace of digitization of healthcare (delivery, services, operations, health records, data storage)
  • Vulnerability and value of long-term scientific research – we are researching disease cures, public health and ways to deal with climate change, but that research is also vulnerable to losses during emergency situations
  • We are in a position of trust and authority