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Climate change risks and opportunities in hospital adaptation

Martin Loosemore (Faculty of the Built Environment, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
Jane Carthey (Faculty of the Built Environment, Centre for Health Assets Australasia, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
Venny Chandra (Ciputra Group, Jakarta, Indonesia)
Anumitra Mirti Chand (Faculty of the Built Environment, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)

International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment

ISSN: 1759-5908

Article publication date: 4 October 2011




The future of healthcare delivery will depend in part on the adaptive capacity of hospital infrastructure required to respond to the predicted physical and health‐related impacts of climate change. The purpose of this paper is to assess the vulnerabilities and opportunities of existing hospital facilities faced with climate‐related extreme weather events and to identify adaptive strategies that will enable existing hospital facilities to assist rather than hinder healthcare continuity and quality during these events.


Four major hospitals in Australia and New Zealand, significantly exposed to climate change‐associated extreme weather event risks, were selected as case studies. A risk management workshop was conducted for each case study using the risk and opportunity management system methodology.


The preliminary findings identified several key objectives associated with responding to the impact of extreme weather events on healthcare infrastructure. Assuming the overall aim of ensuring continuity of service delivery, the common objectives are: guaranteeing the availability of essential (building) services; maintaining the physical integrity of the hospital; supporting effective inter‐agency communication; and providing access to and from the hospital for staff and patients.

Research limitations/implications

Given Australia's relatively high exposure to climate extremes, the social, economic and health benefits of developing hospital adaptation strategies to mitigate risks and maximize opportunities in responding are significant.

Practical implications

The outcomes of this research will contribute to a growing evidence base of design and facilities management adaptation strategies for hospitals susceptible to increasing risks of extreme weather events.


The paper presents the first assessment of climate vulnerabilities and opportunities for hospital facilities in Australia and New Zealand.



Loosemore, M., Carthey, J., Chandra, V. and Mirti Chand, A. (2011), "Climate change risks and opportunities in hospital adaptation", International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, Vol. 2 No. 3, pp. 210-221.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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