The wellbeing of allied health professionals involved in disaster recovery

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Background: The challenging and emotionally demanding nature of disaster recovery work can place allied health professionals (AHPs) at risk of vicarious trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, burnout, and compassion fatigue. Due to this risk AHPs may benefit from regular monitoring to inform the need for psychosocial support aimed at mitigating negative impacts of this type of work. Royal Far West (RFW) implemented strategies to monitor and support their allied health staff wellbeing for the duration, and following completion, of the Bushfire Recovery Program (BRP).

Aim: To evaluate the wellbeing of RFW staff involved in planning and delivering the BRP delivered to pre-schools and primary schools in 34 communities across NSW impacted by the 2019/2020 bushfires.

Methods: Fifteen RFW staff involved in the second phase of the BRP between January 2022 to June 2023 were invited to complete the Professional Quality of Life Scale (ProQOL) at the end of each school term and participate in an individual in-depth interview at the completion of the BRP.    

Results: To date the ProQOL has been completed twice by 12 of 15 RFW staff members. The interim results indicate staff satisfaction from performing work well was rated moderate or high, and burnout and secondary traumatic stress were rated moderate or low. Two further ProQOLs will be completed by June 2023 followed by in-depth interviews.  

Conclusion: Following the completion of two ProQOLs RFW allied health staff indicated positive professional quality of life, possibly due to the identification of potential risk factors and the provision of targeted solutions to facilitate staff wellbeing. As natural disasters in Australia are predicted to increase in both frequency and intensity, strategies are needed to ensure the wellbeing of professionals to enable effective planning and delivery of disaster recovery programs to meet the needs of impacted individuals and communities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2023
EventAustralian Disaster Resilience Conference 2023 - Brisbane Convention Centre, Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 23 Aug 202324 Aug 2023


ConferenceAustralian Disaster Resilience Conference 2023
Abbreviated titleResilience reimagined
OtherIt has never been more important to reduce disaster risk and build resilience. With science telling us that disasters will become more frequent and severe due to climate change, the urgency of this work is clear. We must reimagine the future if we are to create the change we need.
The Australian Disaster Resilience Conference returns in 2023 with the latest ideas and innovations in disaster resilience and risk reduction on 23-24 August in Brisbane.

The conference features a program with two streams, offering a comprehensive conference experience that delegates can tailor according to their interests.

This year the Australian Disaster Resilience Conference program explores what is possible by coming together to reimagine resilience.
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