Dr. Shigemura discusses caregiver "overload"
After three years of planning and promotion, IMCRA and our affiliates conducted our fourth major colloquium/workshop in Japan titled: "The Long-Term Caregiver Experience: Patients, Providers, Pragmatics". The event took place in Sendai City on July 31st and attracted dozens of attendees, both survivors and medical personnel concerned with the long-term aspects of disaster recovery. Equally as important as onsite attendance, the event was televised by the NHK World News network, and was picked up by multiple newspapers and medical journals in Japan.
Five years after the Tohoku event and six months after the Kumamoto earthquake, the need for survivors and caregivers to get together and exchange stories was particularly acute. What became clear during the colloquium, via the workshop which followed, and in the responses and queries received in the wake of media coverage, it is during the months and years which follow a disaster that the emptiness and loss encountered becomes most tangible and most harmful. Survivors are impacted by PTSD, environmental disorientation, loss of livelihood and loss of family support networks. Children are frequently adrift in a new world their parents are not fully in control of. In the elderly chronic medication needs are neglected and suicides become distressingly common. Among the most neglected victims are the medical and psychological professionals who have struggled to help such populations for years.
Unfortunately, there is still very little easily-accessible data on the long-term medical/psychological pitfalls of disaster recovery. Thus, the most important outcome of this event will be the compiling and synthesis of new and personalized recommendations/guidelines for both caregivers and survivors (often one and the same) to use during the years ahead. Going further, the experience of Japan can serve as a touchstone for peoples throughout the world experiencing similar disasters.
It took only one look at the relief and release on the faces of our attendees to reassure us that what we were doing now was something long overdue and underealized. Much of the work still lies ahead though; the workshop data must be compiled and translated, recommendations and guidelines must be created, vetted through our faculty and distributed, the video modules and publications engendered by this and earlier meetings must be effectively disseminated. Please join us in making this happen rapidly. Please help us make the future less uncertain for so many.
Dr. Suzuki - Behavioral Therapies
Survivors and caregivers share years of experience
Dr Hedberg at the U.N. - Disaster Survivor PTSD
The resilience of spirit in Japan