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Durham University

Built Infrastructure for Older People's Care in Conditions of Climate Change (BIOPICCC)

About the BIOPICCC project

Due to global climate change it is expected that there will be more storms, floods and heatwaves in England in future. These can have serious effects on the services, buildings, and communication routes that are important for health and social care of older people. We need to understand how we can keep the most crucial parts of the system running effectively.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council has awarded to Durham University and to Heriot-Watt University major grants totalling £713,000 for the BIOPICCC project, as part of a major research network funded by the Council on Adaption and Resilience to a Changing Climate. The project will develop strategies to help ensure that the infrastructures and systems supporting the health and social care for older people (aged 65 and over) will be sufficiently resilient to withstand harmful impacts of climate change in the future, up to 2050.

We will map those parts of England which have large numbers of older people and are likely to be most affected by storms, floods and heatwaves. From these areas we will select a small number of case study areas where we will ask older people and their carers, including family and friends, and professional carers in health and social services about the services that are important to them. We will also discuss key parts of local systems for care of older people with other experts such as highway engineers, hospital estates staff, etc.

We’ll be investigating our systems of care to see how they can stand up to the challenges created by climate change. We aim to build up a picture of what parts of the system are most likely to be disrupted by extreme weather and floods and what are the crucial things to aim to keep running effectively, and to assess different ways to plan and design services to withstand climate change effects.

The results from our project will be made widely available to other groups across Britain and in other countries who might want to make their own local assessments of how to adapt older people’s care services to climate change.

Stakeholders and beneficiaries

In the case study areas (locations to be determined as part of the project) these include:

  • Older people and their carers
  • Local authorities
  • Health and social care agencies
  • Local NHS agencies
  • Planners and engineers in the public, private and third sectors
  • Local emergency planning units

At the national/international levels, stakeholders include:

  • Environment Agency
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
  • Department of Health Estates
  • National Health Service Management
  • Strategic Health Authority Capital Investment Leads Network
  • European Health Property Network (EuHPN)
  • European Centre for Healthcare Assets and Architecture
  • Age UK
  • Red Cross
  • Improve the Preparedness to give Psychological Help in Event of Crisis (IPPHEC)
  • Resilient Communities