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No one left behind: Postevent experiences of differently abled individuals in Denmark

Adnan Todorovac, MSc, Louise Damsbo Simonsen, MSc, Ask Elklit, MSc


Purpose: This descriptive study explored barriers and difficulties faced by individuals with a physical disability (IPD) in Denmark in situations of disaster and in everyday problems.

Methods: Semistructured interviews were conducted with 12 IPD who had experienced a possible traumatic event. Due to a lack of participants who experienced a traumatic event, the authors expanded their recruitment strategy to include IPD, who had experienced other critical situations (eg, accidents and personal crises).

Results: Difficulties centered on four major themes: (1) lack of guidelines and evacuation plans, (2) differences in reaction to crisis, (3) a lack of empathy and special care from professionals and a general lack of communication directly to the IPD, and (4) great inequality in the municipals and no consistent rules for what a IPD is entitled to.

Conclusions: This study has identified significant gaps in predisaster and postdisaster service provision for IPD. There is a need for general evacuation guidelines and more specialized professional help to provide better aftercare according to the different needs of the IPD. The results of this study can inform policy makers to enhance existing services and/or develop new guidelines and evacuation plans targeted at this population.


physical disabled, disaster, terror, Rehabilitation

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