BRAIN INJURY DISASTER PREPAREDNESS LIST

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BRAIN INJURY DISASTER PREPAREDNESS LIST for
FIRST RESPONDERS AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCIES
Preparedness:
 Identify locations of brain injury care and rehabilitation facilities, group homes or
supported living facilities and the number of residents/patients that may need
services in a crisis situation. The OABI has created a facility information form to
assist in preparedness activities.
 Collect and maintain copies of disaster preparedness plans of all brain injury
facilities group home & supported living centers in your service area.
 Locate brain injury support groups in your area and contact in advance for
volunteer assistance in disaster situations. A statewide list is provided in this
packet and is available on the OABI website.
http://www.hhsc.state.tx.us/hhsc_projects/abj/index.shtml or search for “Office
of Acquired Brain Injury” on any internet search engine,
 Identify medical personnel in your area with specific brain injury expertise and
have contact information available.
 In planning for sheltering, designate a specific area for individuals with brain
injuries and their family members or caretakers. A separate facility is best
although likely not feasible.
 Ensure that space is available for durable equipment that may be necessary to
support the individuals with brain injuries.
 Plan your brain injury-specific area in the calmest location in the facility
possible.
 It is important that it be away from entrances and exits, food services or
restrooms or other areas where long lines or large groups may form.
 Inform staff and volunteers about necessary communication methods with braininjured individuals. An information sheet is included in this packet. Call the
Office of Acquired Brain Injury to schedule training or for assistance.
 Incorporate space and communications skills in preparedness exercises.
Response:
 Have brain injury professionals or knowledgeable personnel in charge of the
designated area.
 If brain injury facilities are evacuating, determine if they are implementing their
plan or if emergency assistance is required. If so, determine needs such as
transportation, oxygen, durable equipment, medications, level of care required
and number of beds needed.
August 1, 2011
Disaster Preparedness List for First Responders
1
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If individuals and/or are evacuating, determine if shelter care is needed and level
of care required.
Place neurologists and ancillary medical personnel, neuropsychologists,,
psychiatrists or counselors with brain injury know experience on standby and
activate as needed.
The Office of Acquired Brain Injury may be able to assist in locating
professionals in rural or frontier areas.
Place support groups on standby and activate as needed.
Communication strategies for use by responders and shelter staff:
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Successful interaction with brain-injured individuals depends upon their level of
cognitive and emotional functioning.
Allow time for rest; fatigue is common.
To minimize sensory overload creating anxiety, anger or emotional outbursts,
reserve a designated area, usually called “calming or quiet rooms” for known
brain injury evacuees, as far away from disruption as possible.
Keep the environment simple and establish or maintain defined, regular
schedules.
Speak slowly and clearly and keep instructions simple and concrete.
Fully explain circumstances or procedures. Short-term memory problems are
common. Be prepared to repeat what you say, orally or in writing, several times.
Re-phrase the person’s comments to ensure they understand concepts and
direction or tasks.
The ability to recognize and to comprehend verbal and/or non-verbal cues is often
damaged or lost, the responder should explain to the person on what they believe
they heard or saw.
Redirect attention and/or move person to a quieter location if the person becomes
emotional or if behavioral problems arise. Positively reinforce desired behaviors.
Do not "over-assist", speak “down to” or be patronizing with brain injury
survivors,
Notify families as soon as possible, if not present.
Family members may become anxious. Make certain that families are included in
changes of plan and in the care of their loved-one.
Patience and calm interaction with individuals are essential to ensuring successful
outcomes during emergencies.
For additional information or assistance please call the Office of Acquired Brain Injury at
these numbers:
 Bettie Beckworth, Director
512-487-3415
 Ed Maldonado, Program Specialist
512-487-3442
 Office Phone, OABI
512-487-3421
August 1, 2011
Disaster Preparedness List for First Responders
2
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