- 公益社団法人 日本リハビリテーション医学会
- The Japanese Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine (ISSN:18813526)
- vol.52, no.3, pp.207-211, 2015 (Released:2015-04-23)
In recent decades, natural disasters have increased markedly. A large-scale disaster can cause not only severe injuries but also stress-related diseases such as cardiovascular events. Particularly, the elderly and persons with preexisting disabilities are at greater risk for injuries, worsening disabilities and deaths in a disaster. The Great East Japan Earthquake 2011 revealed that rehabilitation medicine had some essential roles for people requiring assistance in a large-scale disaster. Firstly, in the acute phase immediately after the disaster, it was important to protect elderly and disabled people from dangerous situations. In this instance, even though significant numbers of vulnerable people requiring assistance remained in the affected area, there were insufficient sheltered locations available, because a large number of medical and welfare facilities were destroyed. Secondly, in the post acute phase after the earthquake, the medical rehabilitation needs for disaster-related disease such as cerebrovascular accidents increased. Finally, in the chronic phase of the disaster, the community based rehabilitation needs to prevent deconditioning syndrome had gradually grown. The aging of the Japanese population is a crucial issue. In this regard, disaster rehabilitation for vulnerable people is similar to comprehensive community care in many aspects. To support disaster victims, the Disaster Acute Rehabilitation Team (DART) and the Japan Rehabilitation Assistance Team (JRAT) have been proposed to take the lead in disaster rehabilitation. To support these and other ongoing efforts and to better prepare for the future, the Japanese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine and other related rehabilitation professional societies should provide specialized training on disaster rehabilitation.