Role of occupational therapy in disaster management

Rabeya Ferdous   | Published: October 23, 2018 21:28:01

Every year Bangladesh faces natural disasters like drought, flood, water-logging, cyclone, tidal surge, tornado, thunder storm and so on. Occupational therapists can play an important role in the rehabilitation of people affected by disasters, especially people with disabilities.

An occupational therapist can strengthen the resilience and build capacity so that people are better prepared to adopt and cope in a crisis situation.

Collecting, measuring, monitoring, evaluating inclusiveness and access to information should be an integral part of disaster risk reduction strategic planning, the American Occupational Therapy Association observed in 2006.

Everyone in a community is in a sense of panic during a natural disaster. In this stage occupational therapists prepare volunteers to rescue people with disabilities.

Occupational therapists can provide intensive treatment and rehabilitation processes to injured patients after a disaster. Others without physical ailments, have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that can eat away at their mental stability. Often PTSD increase chances of other health complications in these people. In the USA, war veterans suffering from PTSD often end up hurting loved ones or even themselves. It is the job of Occupational therapists to diagnose such mental afflictions in patients and take measures to treat them.

Occupational therapist uses following treatment techniques for people of a community who has recently faced a natural disaster:


-Psychological rehabilitation

-Vocational training

-Home modification

-Adaptive devices

Moreover, occupational therapists can liaison with community leaders and others to re-organise community support and regularise daily activities and entertainment like sports in order to facilitate recovery.

Rabeya Ferdous is an occupational therapist from the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation in National Institute of Neurosciences & Hospital (NINS & H).








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