Social work disaster emergency response within a hospital setting


  • Penny Maher Clinical Manager of Social Work at Christchurch Hospital.
  • Jane Maidment Senior Lecturer in the Department of Human Services and Social Work, University of Canterbury.



canterbury earthquakes, christchurch earthquakes, disaster, emergency response, social work practice,


This article outlines the social work contribution to a series of post-disaster emergency response interventions occurring in the Canterbury region between 2007 and 2012. While the earthquakes of September 4th 2010 and February 22nd 2011 provide the major focus for discussing the tasks and processes involved in emergency response interventions, an earlier critical incident involving a large number of youth prompted the development of the emergency response protocols. These protocols are discussed in light of the social work response to the Canterbury earthquakes. The challenges encountered through working in a rapidly changing physical and professional context are outlined including a discussion about the application of diverse forms of debriefing. New learning for social work practice derived out of engagement with emergency response work is summarised.


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How to Cite

Maher, P., & Maidment, J. (2016). Social work disaster emergency response within a hospital setting. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 25(2), 69–77.