Experiences and Psychosocial Impact of West Africa Ebola Deployment on US Health Care Volunteers

CONCLUSIONS The urge to do something to help in an international medical crisis is understandable and admirable, but the adverse impacts reported by participants here – at every stage of deployment, suggest that preparedness for these missions needs improvement and at the very least, high risk missions should be limited to more seasoned and well trained (for conditions in the field) personnel. While volunteering for a medical mission during a health crisis can be very rewarding, both professionally and personally, it can also be very disruptive and impactful. All volunteers for high risk missions must be made fully aware of the risks they are going to face and the potential consequences, which may include illness, quarantine, and even death. The challenges of delivering care under extremely constrained conditions may be overwhelming for some people, and it is imperative that volunteers have realistic expectations of conditions in the field as well as a good understanding of how this deployment may affect their lives – before, during and after deployment. Organizations sponsoring medical missions have a great responsibility to protect the safety and security of their volunteers by providing them with adequate training and ensuring that the medical missions are well managed. They also must ensure that their volunteers have appropriate counseling and mental health care resources available at every stage of their deployment. Support for a national (US) program that c...
Source: PLOS Currents Outbreaks - Category: Epidemiology Authors: Source Type: research

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