Primary Protection: Enhancing Health Care Resilience for a Changing Climate
Guide and Toolkit, delivered through the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit website (toolkit.climate.gov), has been created as an initial component of the President’s Climate Action Plan. The Plan included this recommendation for actions to promote resilience in the health sector:
“The Department of Health and Human Services will launch an effort to create sustainable and resilient hospitals in the face of climate change. Through a public-private partnership with the health care industry, it will identify best practices and provide guidance on affordable mea- sures to ensure that our medical system is resilient to climate impacts. It will also collaborate with partner agencies to share best practices among federal health facilities” (Executive Of ce of the President, 2013).
These documents have been developed for sectors and disciplines engaged in health care facility climate resilience to assist in improving response to extreme weather events and facilitate a faster return to normal or adoption of a new normal. Climate resilience, as applied to health care, is anchored by the acute care hospital, a “high-reliability organization” that is keenly aware of, and sensitive to, broader resilience concerns. Disruptions and losses incurred by the U.S. health care sector after recent extreme weather events strongly suggest that speci c guidance on managing the new and evolving hazards presented by climate change is necessary.
The Guide and Toolkit is intended to provide key tools and insights to improve the climate resilience of the full spectrum of health care delivery settings at the institution (campus or facility) level, nested within the broader context of regional and community infrastructure. This Guide is organized in three parts.
- Part 1 introduces the overall program.
- Part 2 examines the characteristics of health care delivery settings and de nes the parameters of changing extreme weather risks; this part includes case studies of actual health care infrastructure responses to historical extreme weather events.
- Part 3 introduces a ve-element planning framework for improving health care infrastructure resilience, a framework that in turn guides the Toolkit organization. Part 3 highlights case studies of emergent practices for improving health care resilience.