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Purpose: This manuscript describes the roles and experiences of therapists involved in disaster relief work in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

Methods: Two qualitative studies of rehabilitation providers’ experiences in post-disaster relief care are presented. Study 1 investigated the role of therapists (n=13). Study 2 explored the experiences of therapists (n=11) from a phenomenological perspective.

Results: Participants provided disaster relief through direct patient care, adaptive equipment sourcing and allocation, education and training, community outreach, and logistic or administrative duties. Barriers and challenges included: 1) Emotions: Ups and downs; 2) Challenges: Working at the edge of PT practice; 3) Education: Key to success and sustainability; 4) Lessons Learned: Social responsibility is why we go; and 5) Difficulty coming home: No one understands.

Conclusions: Common themes emerged across studies. Therapists play a key role in disaster relief situations. Data presented should encourage organizations to include therapists from early planning to implementation of relief services. Further studies are needed to evaluate the impact of rehabilitation interventions in disaster settings.

Appendix A.doc (43 kB)
Appendix B.doc (40 kB)
Appendix C.doc (62 kB)
Table 1.doc (45 kB)
Table 2.doc (49 kB)
Table 3.doc (46 kB)
Title Page.doc (42 kB)