Medical rehabilitation in natural disasters: a systematic review

Added June 5, 2015

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There is a need to incorporate medical rehabilitation into response planning and disaster management for future natural catastrophes.  Access to rehabilitation and investment in sustainable infrastructure and education is crucial.

An evidence-based overview for effectiveness of medical rehabilitation intervention in natural disaster survivors and the outcomes affected, with existing gaps in the literature, was undertaken. Ten studies (2 randomised controlled trials, 8 observational studies) investigated a variety of medical rehabilitation interventions for natural disaster survivors to evaluate ‘best’ evidence to date.  The interventions ranged from comprehensive multidisciplinary rehabilitation to community educational programs. The studies scored low on quality assessment due to methodological limitations.  More methodologically robust studies are required to build evidence for rehabilitation programs, cost-effectiveness and outcome measurement in such settings.