Debriefing and Feedback

 An instructor gives a debrief session to onlooking participants

Debrief is a term which means having a general discussion about an incident with as many of the people involved as possible, and should occur soon after any first aid incident.

A debriefing is important in the case of anything other than a minor first aid incident. It can be a very formal process, with a chairperson and several other people present – including those involved in or affected by the incident. It might be informal – just a chat between the first responder and anyone else involved. Regardless of the process, each person should have the opportunity to talk, listen and make suggestions regarding ongoing trauma treatment.

The value of a debrief session is threefold. Firstly, it allows the group or individuals to look at the incident as a whole, and can result in suggestions to improve future responses or ways to reduce workplace hazards.

Secondly it gives the persons involved both the time and permission to go over the incident. Each person gets a chance to express their own point of view and to see it through other people who were also involved. Discussing the incident from several points of view allows each person to see the incident as a whole, which helps to bring a sense of closure.

The third important aspect of debriefing is that it allows people to talk about the feelings they experienced at the time, or still feel, and can help them deal with unresolved strong emotions. It is important to deal with the emotional issues of those involved and to provide support if necessary.

Feedback can be used to support and reinforce a first aider’s actions, or to help them improve responses in the future. Feedback is a term applied to how a person looks at a result of a process, compares the actual result with the intended result and uses any difference to adjust or modify the process. For the first responder getting feedback about the treatment you provided will enable you to find out if you could improve your response to a first aid situation in the future.

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