Providing Healthcare for Disasters

If you work in health care, you may already be familiar with the various health problems that natural disaster survivors face in the aftermath. The physical repercussions are more obvious but the mental health related ones can be more subtle and complex. The stress can last for weeks, possibly years. Even worse is how mental and physical health are so often intertwined, someone with PTSD may suffer from elevated blood pressure.

The best thing to do is offer a complete health care program that is based in local communities. People who work together can recover together as they rebuild their neighborhoods. Knowing that they can get local comprehensive care that won't disappear along with the news camera crews is a big help. However, working with specialized relief efforts is incredibly valuable and will take some of the pressure off of caring for so many patients with immediate needs. Thankfully there are such efforts like the Disaster Distress Helpline.

Lastly, do not forget about yourself! Providing healthcare is already stressful. Providing care during and after emergencies is incredibly stressful. Don't ignore your own needs. If you need to talk to a counselor, do it. If you need to just vent with a coworker or relative, do it. When you care for yourself you can take better care of your patients.