WFOT supports and promotes the involvement of occupational therapists in Disaster Preparedness and Response.
Occupational therapists should be involved in all stages of planning and preparation at local district and national level for disaster management as well as post-disaster.
Practitioners should be equally responsive to psychological and psychiatric conditions as they are to physical disorders. A special focus is needed on the early detection of severe psychological distress and psychiatric phenomena. Occupational therapists’ education prepares them to be a major contributor to this refocusing of attention. Intra-professional support is essential.
For vulnerable groups such as children, women and the elderly as well as individuals with previous disabilities and newly acquired conditions, meaningful occupation in daily personal and community activities can have therapeutic outcomes during disaster recovery. In all approaches to DP&R, gender roles must be sensitively addressed and strategies developed to enhance equality in opportunity and resource allocations.
WFOT notes a major task in disaster preparedness and response management for occupational therapists (and others working in health care) lies also in long term strategies in collaboration with key stakeholders. The potential benefits of the involvement of occupational therapists in disaster preparedness and response management are numerous and are related to immediate post disaster response as well as building longer term national capacity and self-reliance in disaster affected countries, and beyond.
Responding Internationally to Disasters
When disasters such as the recent earthquakes in Japan and Ecuador strike, there is always a huge amount of goodwill from rehabilitation professionals around the world who wish to use their skills to support those affected. The ‘Dos and Donts in Responding Internationally to Disasters’ guidance, developed with and endorsed by ISCOS, ISPO, ISPRM, WCPT and WFOT, is aimed at all those who are interested in responding to disasters. The guidance, the result of a collaborative effort between the 5 global associations, highlights key questions to consider, and emphasises that rehabilitation professionals should only respond internationally to disasters as part of established international organisations, or as a member of a registered emergency medical team. Poster - Messages of Support Following the Chile Earthquake 2010
Please read the attached information.
ISPRM have also kindly turned the guide into a presentation that you can download here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/xl7d9yryez98172/Responding%20Internationally%20to%20Disasters.ppt?dl=0
WFOT continues to support Disaster Preparedness and Response, and is offering an online educational module ‘Disaster Management for Occupational Therapists’ - information available soon at www.wfot.org
UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 Sendai, Japan - WFOT Statement: Support for disability inclusive Post-2015 DRR framework
‘Disaster and development: an occupational therapy perspective’ –
WFOT has commissioned a limited edition issue of this publication which is the recommended text for the WFOT Disaster Preparedness and Response Online Education Module (coming soon) and essential reading for occupational therapy students, practitioners, researchers and academics. Available at www.wfot.org >Store >Education
Online Educational Module ‘Disaster Management for Occupational Therapists’ - available 1 June 2016