Climate-Resilient Healthcare Systems – Nursing research contribution!
Climate change is predicted to have a growing impact on public health in the coming years and, increasingly, it will influence the sustainability and effectiveness of our healthcare systems. But, in turn, the health system also contributes to the increase in climate change and, in this regard, it can play a key role in mitigation.
The Healthcare and Social benefits for all (AIM) meeting on Climate-resilient Healthcare Systemsprovided the latest research evidence on the effects of climate change on health, but also on the impact of healthcare systems on climate.
According to the study presented by Zeynep Or, Research Director at the Institut de rechercet documentation en économie da la santé, the healthcare sector is responsible for up 10% of national greenhouse gas emissions and its contribution is expected to increase with the increasing demand for care. This study proposes some interventions, such as:
- Reduce material and medical waste;
- Reduce food waste in the healthcare sector;
- Reduce transport related to the gas emissions by boosting, for example, tele-medicine.
In this context, other solutions have been proposed by Dr. Paulo Ribeiro, Montepio Rainha D. leonor, Portugal, such as tele-health and Value based healthcare. (see EFN Position Statements on VBHC). He gave an overview on how the world has changed due to Covid-19 pandemic and how the digitalisation became the “new normal”. By making maximum use of digital tools and making access to patients fair and immediate, it is possible to reduce the number of trips to hospital and, consequently, the carbon footprint reduces.
A clear picture is given on how climate change becomes a key challenge that can no longer be underestimated. In this context, the role of nurses in the healthcare ecosystems is key, not only in acting for reducing the impact of healthcare systems on the environment. Within this context nursing research is important to better understand the role of nurses in planetary health (See ENRF Policy Brief on Planetary Health).