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On-site Assessment and First Aid

A crisis can be defined as a temporary emotional disruption in one’s life which affects one’s ability to cope with the situation using the regular methods of solving the problem (Kantor, 2002). After a crisis, early intervention is fundamental in order to maximize the victim’s chances of returning to function. This is intended to offer immediate coping to the victim so as to help them to face up to the reality

The first order intervention can be offered by the caregivers who are mostly available within the community, who could be peers, lay people or paraprofessional within minutes or hours after the event. It should be offered at earliest contact with the aim of eliminating stigma where possible discrimination is likely to happen. It should be conducted in a helpful, supportive and nonjudgmental way. The intervention should not be forced on the victim. One of its aims is to eliminate or minimize stigma. The crisis worker will need to assist the victims to desire to talk, be heard and understood. It can be offered to specific victim or done in a group.

In the case of Dolly McTigue the crisis worker would need to create a bond with her immediately after they were pulled off from the lifeboat as the first step in offering psychological first aid. In most cases, the victim is full of fear, anxiety and mistrust and may have a change in behavior such us sleeplessness and nightmares (Laddies, 2010). McTigue had a nightmare on the first night after they were saved. However, the friendly captain may have helped in dealing with the crisis. The crisis worker should be supportive and friendly to the victim to earn the trust. The crisis worker would then take care of McTigue’s immediate needs, medical, mental health and personal needs, as a way to make her feel comfortable. However, McTigue was heavily affected by this even as she always had a fear being in a boat or even close to an ocean. Had immediate crisis intervention been available a few hours after the accident, this may have possibly averted this fear. The crisis intervention should then have continued for a few days after the event, not only for her but also for her family.

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