Developing Post-Disaster Physical Rehabilitation: Role of the World Health Organization Liaison Sub-Committee on Rehabilitation Disaster Relief of the International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine
James Gosney, Jan D. Reinhardt , Andrew J. Haig, Jianan Li
This special report presents the role of the World Health Organization (WHO) Liaison Sub-Committee on Rehabilitation Disaster Relief (CRDR) of the International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (ISPRM) in developing an enhanced physical rehabilitation relief response to large-scale natural disasters. The CRDR has stated that disaster rehabilitation is an emerging subspecialty within physical and rehabilitation medicine (PRM). In reviewing the existing literature it was found that large natural disasters result in many survivors with disabling impairments, that these survivors may have better clinical outcomes when they are treated by PRM physicians and teams of rehabilitation professionals, that the delivery of these rehabilitation services to disaster sites is complicated, and that their absence can result in significant negative consequences for individuals, communities and society. To advance its agenda, the CRDR sponsored an inaugural Symposium on Rehabilitation Disaster Relief as a concurrent scientific session at the 2011 ISPRM 6th World Congress in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The symposium included oral and poster presentations on a range of relevant topics and concluded with an international non-governmental organization panel discussion that addressed the critical question “How can rehabilitation actors coordinate better in disaster?” Building upon the symposium, the CRDR is developing a disaster rehabilitation evidence-base, which will inform and educate the global professional rehabilitation community about needs and best practices in disaster rehabilitation. The Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine (JRM) has commissioned this special report to announce a series of papers on disaster rehabilitation from the symposium’s scientific programme. Authors are invited to submit papers on the topic for inclusion in this special series. JRM also encourages expert commentary in the form of Letters to the Editor.
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