CIR summit explores expanded value.

Author:Gorter, Jeff
Position:Feature article - Critical incident response

"There was broad agreement that CIR terminology should be reevaluated and redefined for an EAP context. For instance, the term 'critical incident' is itself potentially confusing or misleading given that most EAP requests for service are related to events that are disruptive but not necessarily traumatic (i.e. normal grief)."

Questions around critical incident response have long challenged the EAP industry. While it is reported to be one of the most requested and valued services to corporate customers, EAPs have struggled to reach a consensus on what CIR is, how it should be delivered, and perhaps most importantly, why critical incident response is offered. It was in the hope of answering these questions that the first EAP Critical Incident Response Summit was held in conjunction with EAPA's 2015 World EAP Conference in San Diego, Calif. Hosted by Crisis Care Network, the summit included 57 attendees, representing:

* Executive leaders at 26 separate EAP organizations;

* Industry-related professional groups, including EAPA, EASNA, National Behavioral Consortium (NBC), the Employee Assistance Roundtable (EAR), the Asia Pacific Employee Assistance Roundtable (APEAR), and the European Employee Assistance Forum (EAEF);

* Published researchers in the fields of trauma and EAP; and

* Other affiliated stakeholders.

The goal was to begin a dialogue around the question "What does the corporate customer really want when they ask for CIR?" Through a number of keynote presentations, customer panels, and roundtable discussions, participants explored CIR delivery from this organization-centric perspective, seeking consistent themes and emerging consensus points.

Opening Keynote

The first keynote, "Out of the Ashes: Implications of Individual and Organizational Resilience " was presented by Les Kertay, PhD, Chief Medical Officer of Crisis Care Network (CCN). Building on both internal CCN data and external academic research, Dr. Kertay highlighted that most CIR events in an EAP setting are not likely to induce PTSD, and in fact, resilience among employees is by far the dominant trajectory. The majority of EAP events, while undoubtedly distressing, are not traumatizing in a clinical sense. They are, however, emotionally disruptive and have potential to have a negative impact from a business continuity perspective.

He described the high organizational cost associated with one specific productivity metric, workplace absence, which can clearly be driven by an...

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