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Salud mental

versión impresa ISSN 0185-3325


VILLAMIL SALCEDO, Valerio  y  MOLINA LOPEZ, Alejandro. General evacuation measures in disaster situations for hospitalized mental patients. Literature review and suggestions. Salud Ment [online]. 2014, vol.37, n.5, pp.365-371. ISSN 0185-3325.

Around the world, natural and man-provoked disasters cause the migration of big human groups, mental disorders -such as post-traumatic stress disorder-, and economic losses. It has been estimated that each year 130 disasters of different nature occur in the Americas and that 67% of the hospitals and clinics are located in high risk areas. For this reason, the World Health Organization considers that disaster prevention, risk reduction, preparations, and recovery are activities which form a continuous cycle. In the light of this, it has developed the "Safe Hospital" program and the "Hospital Safety Index", two tools to evaluate the functionality of hospitals and the probability that they continue working in the case of disaster. This paper makes a brief practical review of the general evacuation measures for the mental patients of a psychiatric hospital as this is a highly vulnerable population given to causes which are intrinsic and extrinsic to mental illness. These measures include: the right moment to make the decision to evacuate a psychiatric hospital, the way to carry this out, evaluating patients requiring an immediate evacuation, evaluating pre- and post-sinister treatment, medical drugs supply, who will be responsible for the evacuation, the place where patients will be transferred taking into account the duration of the catastrophe, patients identification, the information which will be provided to relatives, the supervision of life in the shelters, and patients return at the end of the catastrophe. Finally, the paper suggests some elements to be considered for prevention, as well as some actions to evacuate a psychiatric hospital in the face of disaster situations. These are not exclusive for this population for they can be applied to other vulnerable groups, such as children and the elderly.

Palabras llave : Evacuation; disasters; mental patients; psychiatric hospitals.

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