Background: In some organizations, traumatic events via direct or indirect exposure are routine experiences. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence reviews (2005; 2018) of post-traumatic stress disorder management in primary and secondary care did not address early interventions for trauma within emergency response organizations. Aims: This scoping review was designed to identify research which evaluates the use of early interventions in emergency and other high-risk organizations following exposure to primary or secondary trauma and to report on the effectiveness of the early intervention models in common use. Methods: A scoping review was conducted to examine early interventions for workers exposed to trauma, including emergency response, military, and humanitarian aid. Relevant data were extracted from the included studies and the outcomes were assessed using meta-ethnography. Results: Fifty studies of mixed quality met the inclusion criteria for this review. A synthesis of study outcomes found that early interventions help emergency responders to manage post-incident trauma when they are delivered in a manner that (a) respects distinct organizational culture, (b) is supported by organizations and senior management, and (c) harnesses existing social cohesion and peer support systems within teams. Conclusion: This review demonstrates that early interventions support emergency responders following exposure to trauma when these are tailored to the needs of the population, are supported by the host organization, and harness existing social cohesion and peer support processes within a team or unit. A number of recommendations for the delivery and evaluation of early interventions for psychological trauma in emergency response organizations were made.
- early interventions
- emergency services