EUNAD- Local Workshop: Visual impairment and psychosocial intervention - Czech Republic

The first local workshop in the Czech Republic took place in June 2013 at Charles University in Prague. Representatives of the organisations for the support of people with visual impairment (Okamžik, Tyfloservis, SONS), school psychologists with specialisation for persons with visual impairment, representatives of the police, the fire brigade and a local administration and students participated. The workshop aimed at the discussion about national crisis management for visual and hearing impaired people between experts.

Results

The organizations that are focused on help to people with disabilities have crisis plans, evacuation and first response plans according to the law about social services for their internal instructions, but they have not created external recommendation for other organizations, public, local administration and other employers. Different experiences of the people with visual impairment in a catastrophe have appeared. Some positive but also some, where different problems appeared: fear about the separation of the dog; helping volunteers in traffic - something, that worked very well; and many others. Reflection of the strong and weak parts of the communication with rescue system members: police, fire brigade, but also medical doctors (e.g. important points of communication that are missed - addressing the person properly, activity on the side of rescue worker, explanation of future steps and plans, situation - effective communication of information, special equipment that can be a barrier in a communication, technical solutions that work and the ones that would be helpful). Important is to be aware of other factors, like the age of the person with disability.


EUNAD Local Workshop: Visual impairment and psychosocial intervention - Germany

The local workshop in Germany took place on the 19th of July 2013 at the art'otel in Cologne. 22 representatives of disability associations, universities, rehabilitation and psychosocial professionals participated. The workshop aimed the exchange about national crisis management for visual and hearing impaired people between experts.

1. Needs and support in acute crisis

Experiences:

  • Little experience with visual impaired people or might not be aware of
  • Difficulties with finding treatments clinics try to avoid additional expenses
  • Staff seem to be overstrained
  • Clinical treatment turns out to be difficult. E.g. blind Patient does not see its food wronglly negative interpretations or orientation problems in clinics make it impossible to find certain rooms
  • There is no known clinic which is specialized to visual impaired people
  • Visual impairment is not visible sometimes
  • For emergencies information is missing
  • Special needs: more time, more information, more communication. Increases empowerment and self-efficacy. It is rarely considered
  • Control and autonomy shall not be taken away from the patient when giving assistance
  • Consider possible trauma of assistants
  • Blind people do have little experience in self-help (e.g. first-aid)
  • Communities do not offer enough training yet
  • Services should be offered all over the country but not centralized (networking)
  • Little interest on training/education

Analysis of needs:

  • Training for staff
  • Training about self-help (e.g. first-aid)
  • Services from community (e.g. public evacuation training in tubes)
  • First responders should use body contact
  • Services should be offered all over the country but not centralized (networking)
  • All interventions have to be announced verbally beforehand

Interventions:

  • Adapt psychosocial intervention routines, mechanisms
  • Give information about, who, what and where
  • Debriefing of situations
  • Networking instead of isolated applications
  • Disability should be generally integrated into education
  • Adapt evacuation routine if necessary

2. Mid- and long-term psychosocial intervention

Experiences:

  • Self-help institutions rarely have professionals. Focus is on coping with disability by itself
  • There is a list of psychotherapist who offer therapy for blind people on the webpage of the German blind association
  • Usually directions for services are not adapted to blind people
  • Emergency accommodations are not working for visual impaired people
  • Negative experiences with seeing therapists as they cannot understand the visual impaired experiences completely
  • Volunteers are very important in emergencies
  • The quality of information varies a lot

Analysis of needs:

  • To place the topic disability into curricula of education
  • Simulation of visual impairment is sensible
  • Need of information material for blind people
  • Case-Manager
  • Research about disability and trauma

Structures and services:

  • Network of volunteers all over the country
  • Conduct competence centres for people with visual impairment
  • Social service via associations of blind people

EUNAD Local Workshop: Visual impairment and psychosocial intervention - Norway

The local workshop took place in Oslo, Norway. Representatives of the Norwegian Association for Blind and visually impaired, from user organizations and the professional field and from the fire- and rescue services participated.

Results

To be blind or visual impaired: a fundamental limitation in volume and variation of experiences in the physical space, limitations in access to information, to interaction with the environment, and freedom of motion Crisis, disasters and accidents: Blind and visually impaired people has the same reactions as other people and, they have the same need for information and debriefing as all other people have Challenges & Opportunities: Lack of universal design, basic facilitation increases self-efficacy and self-reliance, unexpected obstacles, hesitates to ask for help, treatment facilities are lacking, user participation