“I never doubted that I made a difference” : Personal experiences from physical therapists working after the earthquakes in Nepal.

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Åsenlöf: Fysioterapi; Uppsala universitet/Åsenlöf: Fysioterapi

Abstract: Background:  Earthquakes and other natural disasters have increased over recent years, more people around the world are living with disabilities. The physical therapists have an important role to increase function and restore quality of life. Although it is stated that early rehabilitation intervention is an essential part of the health response there is limited information about the work and the experiences from physical therapists.  Aim: The aim of this study is to examine physical therapists’ experiences after the earthquakes in Nepal 2015.  Design: This study had a qualitative exploratory design, based on five individual semi-structured interviews using the communication platform zoom. The data was analysed by a qualitative content analysis and had an inductive approach.   Result: The physical therapists’ describes a chaotic situation, the psychological vulnerability in patients made it challenging to motivate and keep the patients focused on their rehabilitation. The huge influx of patients made it hard for the physical therapists to manage their time and led to compromised treatments and the need of early discharge of patients. The physical therapists had dual experiences about their role in the healthcare teams. There was a clear system on how to prioritize the patients based on severity of injuries. Conclusion: This study showed that physical therapists in Nepal had an important role from acute care to follow-up after the earthquakes. The study provides an insight from physical therapists in disaster settings and may contribute to identify barriers in performing their work tasks in future disaster settings. 

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