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Chapter 28: Psychological Emergencies and Disasters

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1 Chapter 28: Psychological Emergencies and Disasters

2 Psychological Emergency
One or more of the following signs and symptoms listed below may indicate a psychological emergency: Anger Behavioral deviance Confusion Anxiety Fear Mania Depression Withdrawal Loss of contact with reality 2

3 Guidelines when giving psychological first aid care
Identify yourself Express your desire to help Use understandable language Maintain eye contact Listen intently and be empathetic Act interested and concerned Give calm and warm reassurance Do not invade the victim’s “space” until the person feels comfortable Never use any physical force unless the victim is a threat to self or others Never lie to or mislead the victim Do not engender false hope Do not judge, criticize, argue or be overly sympathetic Explain the situation to the victim and your plan of action; let the person know that you are in control Avoid stock phrases like “everything will be OK” 3

4 PROGRESS CHECK 1. A goal of psychological first aid care is to minimize____________. (pain/life-threatening conditions/psychological disability) 2. Psychological first aid care is aimed at decreasing the intensity of the victim’s ____________. (pain/emotional reaction/fear) 3. In an emergency involving a psychological crisis, every person, including you, is susceptible to____________ injury. (emotional/physical/sudden) 4. Emotional injury is just as ___________ as physical injury. (frequent/real/deviant) 4

5 Definitions Suicide: any willful act designed to end one’s own life
Reasonable force: The amount of force required to keep a person from injuring self or others Concealment: A place or an object that will hide you, such as shrubbery Cover: An object that will both hide you and stop bullets, such as a tree Conversion hysteria: converting anxiety to a physical dysfunction, such as blindness or deafness 5

6 To manage a suicide emergency:
Make sure you are safe Assess the person for physical injury Assess the seriousness of the person’s thoughts and feelings Calm the person and stay with him or her If it is necessary to protect the person from self harm, use restraints 6

7 PROGRESS CHECK __________are at highest risk for suicide. (Married men/Divorced men/Single women) You should consider a suicide threat to be especially serious if the person has a ___________. (gun/knife/plan) 7

8 Legal Considerations To reduce your legal liability:
When possible, get consent If a victim refuses care, carefully document what has happened Avoid unreasonable f0orce Seek police direction Protect yourself against false accusations Manage a crime scene 8

9 Managing mass casualty or disaster situations
Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed Encourage victims or bystanders who are able to do necessary chores at the scene Identify yourself; stay self-assured, sympathetic and businesslike and reassure anxious victims or bystanders Assess and care for physical injuries Keep spectators away from victims Respect the right of victims to have their own feelings Accept your own limitations 9

10 Conducting Triage Move quickly from one victim to the next
Correct immediate life-threatening problems Tag each victim as to priority Ask for additional assistance if needed Assign available manpower and equipment to highest priority victims When additional help arrives, arrange for treatment and transport of highest priority victims first If possible, notify emergency personnel and/or hospital Triage rescuer remains at the scene Reassess victims regularly 10

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