Trauma is an emotional response to a horrific event, such as an assault, an accident, or a natural disaster. It is common for an individual who has experienced such an event to be in shock immediately after the event occurred.
There are various long-term reactions that a person may experience, such as flashbacks, unpredictable emotions, and strained relationships. An individual may even experience long-term physical symptoms like headaches and nausea.
What is Trauma-Informed Care?
Trauma-informed care is designed to help individuals who have experienced a horrific event effectively deal with what happened. Trauma-informed care doesn’t focus on what’s wrong with the person but rather on what has happened to the person.
The trauma-informed care approach recognizes that healthcare organizations and teams need to have a comprehensive understanding of a patient’s life.
This means understanding the patient’s life, both past, and present. By doing so, organizations and healthcare teams can provide a better quality of care. They are able to provide more effective health care services that promote healing for the patient.
The goal of trauma-informed care is to improve patient engagement, treatment adherence, and health outcomes. This approach also accounts for staff and provider wellness. This approach also aims to reduce avoidable care and excess costs.
When implemented effectively, trauma-informed care does the following:
- Helps healthcare organizations and care teams understand the widespread impact of trauma on each individual patient
- Helps providers better understand paths toward trauma recovery for patients
- Identify the signs and symptoms associated with trauma in patients, family, and staff
- Increase the knowledge gap related to trauma by incorporating information related to trauma in policies, procedures, and practices
- Actively avoid re-traumatization
Benefits of Trauma-Informed Care
Incorporating trauma-informed care into healthcare systems has shown to present better outcomes for patients, families, healthcare organizations, and care teams. In fact, a trauma-informed approach revolutionizes the way care is delivered. This approach creates an overall more positive experience and effective results. Here are three benefits of establishing a trauma-informed care program.
Better Sense of Safety in Patients
One of the greatest benefits of trauma-informed care is that it creates a better sense of safety in patients. One of the goals of a trauma-informed care approach is to make patients feel safe physically and mentally. A healthcare team may do this through simple changes. An example may include making a waiting room feel more welcoming in a way that best suits the patient.
Actively Avoid Re-Traumatization
Another benefit of a trauma-informed care approach is that it enables providers and care teams to actively avoid re-traumatization. This essentially helps patients stay on the path to healing.
There are many ways to make re-traumatization occur, which can make it difficult to provide effective care. When re-traumatization occurs, it can make matters worse and lead to severe mental health problems.
A trauma-informed care approach ensures that providers will have a better understanding of what has happened to the patient. In addition, this approach can better avoid re-traumatization in patients.
Many individuals who have experienced trauma often feel alone. As a result, trauma patients tend to isolate themselves or hide their experiences, which makes it difficult to heal.
However, trauma-informed care can be utilized in a way that brings shared experiences together. A trauma-informed care approach prioritizes the needs of the patient. This approach can make patients feel more welcomed and supported as they begin their road to recovery.
Principles of Trauma-Informed Care
Trauma-informed care follows five core principles that help to revolutionize the delivery of care and improve outcomes. These principles include:
The goal of trauma-informed care is to make everyone feel safe physically and psychologically. This includes the patient, organization, and staff.
2. Trustworthiness and Transparency
Trust and transparency are crucial components of patient care when dealing with trauma patients. All decisions must be made with transparency. In addition, there must be a shared goal of building and maintaining trust.
3. Peer Support
It’s common for trauma patients to feel alone and as if no one understands what they’re going through. This is why providing peer support is an important core principle of trauma-informed care. Ideally, it is more effective to integrate individuals with shared experiences for better care delivery.
Another key focus of trauma-informed care is to bring collaboration between various organizational staff to provide shared decision-making.
It’s important that patient and staff strengths are recognized, validated, and built on to help deliver quality care to trauma patients. This means having a belief in resilience and the ability to heal from a traumatic experience.
Additionally, it’s important to have humility and be responsive to situations. This begins with recognizing and addressing historical trauma based on biases and stereotypes, including race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, and geography.
How to Find Trauma-Informed Care
There are many resources available for those interested in trauma-informed care. A good starting point is to call your insurance company, if applicable. Your insurance company may be able to assist you with finding a qualified provider in your network. It’s also a good time to ask about referrals, copays, coinsurances, and deductibles.
Another potential resource is to talk with your primary care physician. It’s possible that they may know of a provider who is qualified to assist you with what you need. In some cases, your insurance company may require a referral from your primary care physician. In this case, your physician will perform an evaluation to see if you qualify for service.
There are various online directories that will enable you to search online for a mental healthcare provider that specializes in trauma. For your convenience, there are many providers that offer free phone and video consultations. During these consultations, you can ask questions before deciding to move forward.
Individuals living with trauma have experienced a terrible event that can lead to serious, long-term effects if left untreated. Trauma-informed care offers a better approach to dealing with the needs of trauma patients and provides more positive outcomes.
For those living with trauma, there are various resources available to help them get the care they need. Here at D’Amore Mental Health, we are an inpatient mental health facility offering personalized treatment plans. Reach out to us today by calling us to learn more about our mental health services for those living with trauma.