Supervisor/

Manager

Guide to

Critical Incident Stress Management

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 Table of Contents

 

Table of Contents............................................................................................................. 2

Supervisor/Manager Guide To Helping Employees Immediately After A Critical Incident...................................................................................................................................... 3

What To Provide Employees.......................................................................................................................................................... 3

What Behaviors You May Observe............................................................................................................................................... 3

How To Support Employees............................................................................................................................................................ 3

Suggestions For What To Avoid................................................................................................................................................... 4

Information For Employees............................................................................................................................................................ 4

Common Responses to Traumatic Events........................................................... 5

Effect On Productivity:................................................................................................................................................................... 5

After A Critical Incident................................................................................................ 6

Things for you to include:.............................................................................................................................................................. 6

Suggested Management Responses After The Critical Incidents.... 7


 

Supervisor/Manager Guide To Helping Employees Immediately After A Critical Incident

 

What To Provide Employees

1.      Remove all employees from the trauma scene and move to a safe areas as soon as feasible

2.      Provide employees with necessities such as water, tissues, food, etc.

What Behaviors You May Observe

1.      Employees may be in a state of shock

2.      Employees may be crying and perhaps unable to stop

3.      Feelings of anger and frustration

4.      Employees may withdraw and isolate

How To Support Employees

1.      Be willing to say nothing. Just being there is often the most supportive thing you do to help

2.      Be aware that employees will be having mixed emotions. These are normal reactions to the critical incident.

3.      Allow all employees to express any reactions to the critical incident.

4.      Answer any questions employees may have.


Suggestions For What To Avoid

1.      Avoid statements like, “I know how you feel” or “Everything will be all right”. These statements make some people think their feelings are not understood.

2.      Do no attempt to explain why the incident happened. Your explanation may not be believed and may negatively impact your relationship with the employee.

Information For Employees

1.      Avoid any alcohol or caffeine; rest; relax with breathing exercises; increase support from family and loved ones; drink plenty of water.

2.      Give the EAP toll-free number for those employees who feel they need to speak with a counselor.*

3.      Post the EAP number in a place where all employees can see it.

*Your EAP program will be available to you 24 hours a day during this crisis period.

 


Common Responses to Traumatic Events

 

 

Although trauma affects people differently, there are some common reactions that you may experience. These signs and symptoms may begin immediately, or you may feel fine for a couple for days or even weeks, then suddenly be hit with a reaction. The important thing to remember is that these reactions are quite normal. Although it may feel abnormal, it is very normal for people to experience emotional “aftershocks” following a traumatic event.  Some common responses to traumatic events are:

 

PHYSICAL REACTIONS

EMOTIONAL REACTIONS

Insomnia

Flashbacks or "reliving" the event

Fatigue, hyperactivity or "nervous energy"

Excessive jumpiness or tendency to be startled

Pain in the neck or back

Irritability

Headaches

Anger

Heart palpitations or pains in the chest*

Feelings of anxiety or helplessness

Dizzy spells*

Feeling vulnerable

Appetite changes

 

Effect On Productivity:

Ø      Inability to concentrate

Ø      Increased incidence of errors

Ø      Lapses of memory

Ø      Increase in absenteeism

Ø      Tendency to overwork

Usually, the signs and symptoms of trauma will lessen with time. If you are concerned about your reaction, note the specific symptoms that worry you. For each symptom, note the:

Ø      Duration—Normally, trauma reactions will grow less intense and disappear within a few weeks.

Ø      Intensity—If the reaction interferes with your ability to carry on your life normally, you may want to seek help.

Your EAP is a confidential, voluntary, short-term counseling service that is prepaid by your company. It is a benefit provided for your overall well being. If you are concerned that your trauma response is too intense, or is lasting too long, please seek counseling. EAP is available to you and your family members.  For confidential help, contact your EAP at _____________.


After A Critical Incident

 

Things for you to include:

Ø      Physical exercise alternated with relaxation may help with some of the physical reactions. Consult your doctor if they persist.

Ø      You are normal and having normal reactions—don’t label yourself as abnormal.

Ø      Talk to people; talk is the most healing medicine.

Ø      Spend time with others. Resist the tendency to isolate.

Ø      Help your co-workers as much as possible by sharing feelings and checking out how they are doing.

Ø      Give yourself permission to feel rotten and share your feelings with others.

Ø      Keep a journal; write your way through sleepless times.

Ø      Don’t make major life changes.

Ø      Do make as many daily decisions as possible, which will give you a feeling of control over your life.

Ø      Get plenty of rest and eat regular meals, even if you don’t feel like it.

Ø      Recurring thoughts, dreams or flashbacks are normal. Don’t try to fight them. They will decrease over time and become less painful.

Ø      Things for family and friends to try include:

Ø      Offering your assistance and a listening ear even if you haven’t been asked for help.

Ø      Don’t take stress reactions experienced by others (anger, irritability) personally.

Ø      Spend time with each other. Keep talking about what happened.

For confidential help, contact your EAP at ______________.


Suggested Management Responses After The Critical Incidents

 

 

Ø      A supervisor should be well aware and understanding of the normal reactions to trauma and stress.

Ø      The supervisor should be alert to deteriorating behavioral changes, and should be aware of available sources for counseling via the company EAP.

Ø      The supervisor may choose to be temporarily tolerant of reduced performance or increased time-off, but he or she must use such tolerance carefully and not create resentment in other employees.

Ø      Although some employees may need time off to work through their problems, productive work is historically a "healer" of emotional damage.

Ø      The supervisor can reduce the effect troubled employees have on others by structuring some time for "talking it out" via a defusing or debriefing from the EAP, eliminating the need some have to "dump" their troubles on other employees.

Ø      Productivity is still the supervisor's key responsibility.  Employees need to know the company expects the employee to continue to function, and to regain acceptable performance levels.

Ø      The supervisor should respectfully confront employees with unacceptable work behavior, regardless of the cause.

Ø      The supervisor should report all threats of violence to the authorities.

Ø      The normal steps of good management govern such confrontations, even if trauma related.

Ø      It may be difficult for managers to determine how long an individual will need to recover from a traumatic event.  However, your job is still to manage outcomes and productivity.

If you find yourself struggling with an employee weeks to months after a workplace crisis, please call for consultation from your EAP.  Magellan has specially trained consultants who work exclusively with managers and human resources staff on these any many other employee issues.  Services are available, 24 hours, 7 days a week at ______________.