About roller-coasters in abandoned amusement parks…

By Steve MacArthur, Hospital Safety Consultant

Some ponderings on the ups and downs of climate-related conditions that might impact a hospital near you (under you? Next to you?) and some water management info (not done with this, I guess).

I’m thinking this might be the last re-visit to issues relating to the external environment as it relates to climate, but I suppose one never knows what the future holds until it is (more or less) past. So, let’s give some love to the ebb and flow of the world around us as we embark on the journey that is 2023.

One of the things I find most fascinating is the dichotomy of the hotter/dry versus hotter/wetter—sea levels are rising but conditions are dryer (drought-ier?) and, as I travel hither and thither I can see that the impact of the hotter/dry (even if you discount time spent in Arizona over the last little while—deserts tend to be somewhat dryer than non-desert areas—go figure!) is really stretching HVAC capacities in a lot of areas. And that’s true particularly as the heating/cooling seasons are less reliably contoured than they used to be (those transition periods between the two can make for some very uncomfortable conditions for building occupants).

That said, I suspect that there’s going to be a fair amount of focus on how to minimize water consumption; easy to do if you’re in the design/build part of a building’s “life,” but if you have an aging facility, it can be a much more daunting proposition. To provide a little fodder for your considerations of drought-resistance, etc., you might find some useful tidbits here.

Moving on to a less-dry topic, we’ve kicked the hornet’s nest of rising seas a couple of times this past year (most recently, here and there’s more sobering information to be found in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s 2022 Sea Level Rise Technical Report, particularly for folks with facilities closer to the water (https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/hazards/sealevelrise/sealevelrise-tech-report.html ).

The “arc” of the report takes us through the next 30 years and while I would like to think that gives us plenty of time to work through the risks, the “arc” of the last 60+ years gives me some pause—time flies whether or not you’re having fun.

To close out this week’s missive, the risks associated with water systems can manifest themselves in a number of different fashions, which tends to increase the importance of effective monitoring of your control points, because you never know what you might find: https://www.healthcarefacilitiestoday.com/posts/Bacteria-Found-in-Tap-Water-at-Franciscan-Childrens-Hospital--28122.

On that note, I will renew my wishes for a most prosperous and risk-managed 2023 – together we are stronger!

About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant with Chartis Clinical Quality Solutions (formerly known as The Greeley Company) in Danvers, Mass. He brings more than 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro's Hospital Safety Director's Handbook and is contributing editor for Healthcare Safety Leader. Contact Steve at stevemacsafetyspace@gmail.com.