Haiti Earthquake, Haiti, 2010; Earthquake relief--Haiti; Holistic medicine
Within the occupational therapy literature, only one documented experience of occupational therapists practicing in a natural disaster setting was found, however several articles hypothetically discuss the role that occupational therapy can play following a natural disaster (Scaffa et al., 1998; Schoessow, 2009; Strzelecki, 2011). Thus, the primary goal of this project was to document the experiences of an occupational therapist who aided in the early post-earthquake response in 2010 in Haiti. A series of in-person interviews afforded a unique and in-depth insight into the occupational therapist’s experiences. Key concepts included the occupational therapist’s role as a holistic health practitioner, a teacher, and psychosocial support system, the need to remain flexible and adjust in an ever-changing environment and the ability to deliver effective intervention despite limited resources in an austere environment. Occupational therapists markedly contribute to disaster relief efforts because of the holistic-centered health care they provide to their patients. In their service delivery, they seek to create a better fit between the person and their environment through adaptation and accommodation, which translates well into working in settings, such as post-natural disaster situations, that are unpredictable and ever-changing. Additionally, this work provides a framework to aid occupational therapists in conceptualizing their role in future disaster responses.
Date of Completion
Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT)
Date of Award
University of Puget Sound