Interventions to improve the psychological well-being of healthcare workers in disasters, pandemics, and mass casualty events
Keywords:disaster medicine, mental health, resilience, first responder
Objectives: This information paper will describe the current research and recommendations for improving healthcare worker’s (HCW) mental health. Individual and organizational goals will be outlined with items broken up into the time frames of predisaster, during a disaster, and post-disaster.
Methods: A team of subject matter experts reviewed the current literature utilizing a search of PubMed, Google Scholar, relevant article reference lists, and subject matter interviews.
Results: Thirty-six distinct recommendations were identified and distributed into the time frames of predisaster, during a disaster, and post-disaster. Twenty-one of these are pertaining to organizational goals and factors. Fifteen recommendations are identified for individual HCWs.
Conclusions: Additional institutional and government policies supporting the protection of HCW’s mental health are required to reduce the stigma and fear, preventing frontline workers from seeking help with the psychological effects of disasters, mass casualty incidents, and pandemics. Further research dealing with ways to ameliorate the negative effects of the stress related to the duties and responsibilities of HCWs, which are exacerbated by disasters, is needed.
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