Hospitals need to remain operational during extreme weather events so people can get the medical care they need even in times of crisis. As climate change leads to increases in the intensity, duration, and geographic reach of extreme weather such as hurricanes, flooding, and fires, hospitals must make their facilities more resilient and work with their communities on emergency preparedness planning.
Partners HealthCare’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, located on a former brownfield site on the Boston harbor, was built with climate-resilient design features that make it one of the most sustainable and resilient hospitals in the country and a model for how to use nature as part of a healing facility.
In order to be a “safe haven in the storm,” hospitals need to understand how climate change will impact their buildings, community infrastructure, and cause changes in disease prevalence. Many hospitals are taking steps to ensure they are prepared for the impacts of climate change by:
- Undertaking assessments and developing action plans to address climate change-related building and community infrastructure vulnerabilities. For example, a hospital at risk for flooding relocates their critical equipment and generators to upper floors.
- Working with local governments and organizations to include climate risks in regional emergency preparedness planning.
Practice Greenhealth helps members access resources and tools to prepare for the impacts of the changing climate and build community resilience.