Psychiatrists can increase the efficacy of their response to disaster victims in the immediate aftermath of a disaster if they utilize a consultation-liaison approach to assessment and management of casualties. Medical-surgical disaster responders use an algorithmic, stepwise approach to assess disaster or trauma victims. This approach ensures that patients with life-threatening injuries who are not expectant are treated first. Then, secondary physical assessments ensure proper triage of other victims so that disaster response resources are used most wisely. A tertiary psychiatric assessment can assist with differential diagnosis of post-disaster neuropsychiatric symptoms and signs to ensure valuable medical-surgical resources are targeted to the correct patients. Psychiatric triage can also identify those victims most in need of early preventive and therapeutic psychiatric intervention.
Psychiatric Quarterly – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 9, 2004
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