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Rehabilitation in sudden onset disasters.

September 2015

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The role of rehabilitation professionals in responding to Sudden Onset Disasters (SODs) is evolving rapidly, and our professions increasingly find themselves at the forefront of emergency response teams. At the same time, there is a movement towards the professionalisation of the humanitarian response sector, in particular Emergency Medical Teams, and a recognition that specialist training is required to prepare professionals for work in an austere humanitarian environment. The intended audience of the manual are physiotherapists and occupational therapists who may deploy to provide rehabilitation in the immediate aftermath of a sudden onset disaster. It was developed to support volunteers on the UK International Emergency Trauma Register (UKIETR), but with the aim of being relevant to all rehabilitation professionals interested in rapid deployment to austere environments. The content is restricted to the context of sudden onset disasters such as an earthquake or tsunami, and has been developed to support work in an austere environment, where the type of equipment and support that is normally available has been disrupted. UKIETR professionals are UK based volunteers who receive specialist training to prepare them for international deployment as part of team in response to emergencies. They may be deployed within a multi-disciplinary foreign medical team in a field hospital scenario, or as part of a more specialist ‘cell’ offering niche medical, surgical or rehabilitation services. The manual is designed to complement the three day core rehabilitation training run by Handicap International which all UKIETR members must attend. It is a clinical manual, and the contents are directly linked to modules taught on the core training course. In addition there are a number of ‘cheat sheets’ and patient education resources at the back of the manual which are designed to be used in the field. Chapters include: rehabilitation and the UKIETR; introduction to rehabilitation following sudden onset disasters; amputee rehabilitation; spinal cord injury; peripheral nerve injury; fractures; burns and soft tissue injury; and acquired brain injury

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