Utility of fear severity and individual resilience scoring as a surge capacity, triage management tool during large-scale, bio-event disasters

H. Stefan Bracha, Frederick M. Burkle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Threats of bioterrorism and emerging infectious disease pandemics may result in fear-related consequences. If left undetected and untreated, fearbased signs and symptoms may be extremely debilitating and lead to chronic problems with a risk of permanent damage to the brain's locus coeruleus and stress response circuits. The triage management of susceptible, exposed, and infectious victims seeking care must be sensitive and specific enough to identify individuals with excessive levels of fear in order to address the nuances of fear-based symptoms at the initial point of contact. These acute conditions, which include hyper-vigilant fear, are managed best by timely and effective information, rapid evaluation, and possibly medications that uniquely address the locus-coeruleus-driven noradrenalin over-activation. It is recommended that a Fear and Resilience (FR) Checklist be included as an essential triage tool to identify those most at risk. The use of this checklist facilitates an enhanced capacity to respond to limitations brought about by surge capacity requirements. Whereas the utility of such a checklist is evident, predictive validity studies will be required. In addition to identifying individuals who are emotionally, medically, and socially hypo-resilient, the fear and resilience Checklist simultaneously identifies individuals who are hyper-resilient and can be asked to volunteer, and thus, rapidly expand the surge capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-296
Number of pages7
JournalPrehospital and disaster medicine
Volume21
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • bio-events
  • bioterrorism
  • disaster planning
  • disasters
  • fear
  • fear scoring
  • pandemic influenza
  • resilience
  • surge capacity
  • triage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency

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