Environmental factors

Care of people with disabilities in the bush requires constant attention. Participants with communication difficulties may not indicate to anyone that they are tired, are cold or that they need to go to the toilet. These individuals may simply disappear behind a tree or stop to sit down without telling anyone. If there are participants who have a limited sense of danger or have a tendency to wander from the group, it would be wise to allocate someone both capable and willing to specifically monitor these individuals at all times. Searching for people lost in the bush who may have an impaired sense of judgement or limited communication capabilities can be significantly more difficult than searching for an able-bodied person.

Take time to point out items of interest and to enjoy the environment. Forests, rocky trails, sounds of birds and running creeks may be a common experience to you but may be a completely new experience for some of the participants.

Most things that apply to the bush environment also apply to the snow. A more frequent appraisal of party members is necessary and head counts should be frequently made. The snow as well as any cold/wet environment presents its own unique rewards and risks. Those requiring greater supervision will need to be checked constantly for things such as cold stress, dehydration, anxiety and boredom, etc. Care must be taken with those who may have restrictions on their circulatory system. These include those with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, diabetes or those with amputated limbs. Note that persons with vision impairment will still require sunglasses or goggles, as they are also susceptible to snow blindness. Even though they may not be able to see, their retinas can still be burnt.