Assessing the resilience of health care facilities in Canada

By Jaclyn Paterson, Climate Change and Health Office, Health Canada, and Linda Varangu, Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care

Climate change poses increasing risks to health care facilities in Canada. Extreme weather events(e.g. hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms, floods, drought, wildfires, extreme temperature events) can create health emergencies by damaging infrastructure, reducing access to critical resources (e.g. food and water) and compromising the safety of patients, visitors and staff. Climate change can also increase risks from some infectious diseases (vector-, water- and food-borne, new and emerging) and worsen air quality. As climate-related hazards can have significant implications for demand on health care facility services, officials should assess their ability to plan, prepare for and respond to these events.

The Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care, with research and technical support from Health Canada, developed the Health Care Facility Climate Change Resiliency Toolkit. The Toolkit can be used by health care facilities to assess their resiliency to the impacts of climate change and includes three components: a Facilitators Guide, which introduces the toolkit and guides the users through a suggested approach, an Assessment Checklist which facilities can use to assess their resiliency and a Best Practices and Resources Guide to access additional resources. The checklist includes questions about resiliency related to emergency management, facilities management, health care services and supply chain management. Completion of the assessment checklist by officials with knowledge and experience in these areas will increase awareness and inform adaptation activities to reduce climate change risks. Results may be used by emergency management officials as input to community level hazard, risks and vulnerability assessments as well as investigations of climate change impacts.  A second phase of the project is developing a toolkit for smaller facilities.

The toolkit may be downloaded from http://www.greenhealthcare.ca/climateresilienthealthcare/toolkit/

Contacts:

Jaclyn Paterson, Climate Change and Health Office Health Canada contact: Jaclyn.Paterson@hc-sc.gc.ca

Linda Varangu, Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care, contact: linda@greenhealthcare.ca