Disasters are a growing global problem with increasing numbers of people affected around the world. There is increasing guidance that supports the inclusion of rehabilitation professionals in responding emergency medical teams, but they are rarely included at the forefront
of emergency responses.
For the first time, rehabilitation professionals have been fully integrated into an international emergency medical team – the UK Emergency Medical Team (UKEMT). This study aims to describe the process of integrating rehabilitation professionals into the UKEMT, including collaboration with ACPIN and other professional networks. This has included the development of professional standards, recruitment, training, equipping, and deploying teams.
Over 100 rehabilitation professionals have been recruited to the UK Emergency Medical Team Community of Practice. Clinical humanitarian training was developed to UK best practice standards in partnership with Professional Networks, and was supported by a system of self rated confidence assessments designed to evaluate humanitarian clinical competencies and guide future training development. Humanitarian training and leadership of the UK team was provided by the organisations UKMed, Save the Children and Handicap International.
As an integral part of the UK team, 22 rehabilitation professionals have since deployed to emergencies in the Philippines, Gaza and Nepal. Post deployment evaluation has revealed that the training offered met the needs of those deployed.