OT Corner: Occupational Therapy’s Role in Disaster Relief
By Stephanie Yamkovenko
No part of the country is immune from disaster—whether it’s hurricanes in the Southeast, earthquakes in the West, tornadoes in the Central plains, flooding in the Midwest, or blizzards in the North. Disasters take many forms—from the aforementioned natural disasters, to human-made disasters such as terrorism and oil spills.
When disaster occurs, society becomes disabled, limiting its members’ ability to perform normal activities. Occupational therapy practitioners have the opportunity to become a part of the solution to a disaster’s disabling effects by playing a role in the three stages of emergency situations: preparedness, response, and recovery.
Occupational Therapy’s Role in Preparedness
A community can prepare for disasters by creating emergency plans that enable an effective disaster response. Occupational therapy practitioners can participate in this planning by lending their expertise in areas such as designing special needs shelters and training staff and volunteers on assisting persons with disabilities during a crisis.
A lack of planning results in a lack of resources to adequately address the needs of disaster victims. Reviewing problems that emerged from previous disaster responses can aid
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PediaStaff hires pediatric and school-based professionals nationwide for contract assignments of 2 to 12 months. We also help clinics, hospitals, schools, and home health agencies to find and hire these professionals directly. We work with Speech-Language Pathologists, Occupational and Physical Therapists, School Psychologists, and others in pediatric therapy and education.