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 This paper discusses the role and current situation of speech-language-hearing therapists (SLHTs) in disaster rehabilitation based on their activities as part of the Japan Disaster Rehabilitation Assistance Team (JRAT) following the Kumamoto Earthquakes on April 14 and 16, 2016. SLHTs participated in the activities of the JRAT Headquarters (Tokyo and Kumamoto), and supported victims in shelters, but the number of SLHTs proved to be quite insufficient. In shelters, SLHTs conducted shelter assessment and identified victims who had increased health risks. The SLHTs were also expected to conduct duties of a professional nature, such as screening for dysphagia, conducting individualized evaluation, and providing individualized guidance, as necessary. The need for SLHT services was noted and it was recommended that SLHTs are included in support activities from an early stage. This experience revealed the following future challenges: 1) specifying the roles of SLHTs during disasters, 2) adopting a system to register JRAT Headquarters support members, 3) promoting active participation of prefectural SLHT associations in the community-based JRAT activities, and 4) clarifying, specifying, and sharing information about the activities of SLHTs in shelters. In addition, establishing and implementing disaster rehabilitation training programs should be urgently addressed to solve the shortage of SLHTs.

Copyright © 2018, Japanese Association of Speech-Language-Hearing Therapists. All rights reserved.


電子版ISSN 印刷版ISSN 1349-5828 日本言語聴覚士協会