Catholic Health World published a story examining the emergency management programs various Catholic health ministries have in place in order to be ready to aid vulnerable people in their hospitals and in their communities. Among those interviewed for the article were SPHP’s Brian Boudreau, manager of safety and emergency preparedness, and Manuel Fernandez Villaderey, emergency management specialist.
From the article:
Boudreau and Fernandez Villaderey said St. Peter’s in Albany has anticipated that distressed, vulnerable people will need extra comfort in a crisis, and so as part of their disaster preparation their department, the health system’s Office of Safety and Emergency Preparedness, has facilitated training in Mental Health First Aid for 140-plus hospital colleagues.
In a mass casualty incident or disaster, these individuals can be dispatched quickly to provide mental health triage and referrals to mental health providers, as appropriate.
The four-hour training sessions cover how to speak to a traumatized person in a manner that calms rather than retraumatizes them. This includes how staff can tailor their communications with members of vulnerable groups including children, elders and people who are mentally ill.
Fernandez Villaderey said this training is for when “we’re the very first touch” after a disaster. “We want to provide that friendly voice, we want to emphasize we’ll help them. We want (vulnerable people) to feel comfortable and safe here.”
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