Coping with Medical Traumatic Stress

Injury and illness are stressful. Hospitals are stressful. Medical procedures are stressful. When a child is ill, injured, in the hospital, or undergoing medical procedures, both the child and his/her parents or caregivers may experience medical traumatic stress. In other words, a child, parent, and other family members may experience feelings of reliving the injury/illness, anxiety, anger, and other emotions and may stay away from places and people that remind them of the injury/illness. 


Children and parents can learn more about medical traumatic stress, what signs and symptoms to look for in their child and family members, what are normal reactions, and when to get help on the brand new Parent and Child pages.



Trauma can be both a medical and psychological event in the eyes of children and families experiencing serious illnesses, injuries, or painful procedures. By enhancing patient centered care with trauma informed care, health care providers can reduce the impact of difficult or frightening medical events, and help children and families cope with emotional reactions to illness and injury.

How Doctors and Nurses Make a Difference with Trauma Informed Care

Healthcare providers are experts in treating illness and saving lives. After attending to the basics of physical health (A-B-C: Airway, Breathing, Circulation), you can promote psychosocial recovery by paying attention to the D-E-F (Distress, Emotional Support, Family).

What is Trauma Informed Care?

Trauma-informed care shares many principles with patient centered care. However, trauma informed care incorporates an awareness of the impact of traumatic stress on ill or injured children and families as a part of treating the medical aspects of the trauma.

Last Updated (Thursday March 21, 2013)



Beyond Medical Care: Why Trauma Informed Care Makes a Difference

It's not hard to imagine why medical events, like injury and illness, are traumatic experiences for children and families and may result in traumatic stress reactions. Medical providers practicing through a trauma informed lens understand how traumatic medical events...

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What does it mean to be “trauma-informed” and why does it matter for pediatric care?

What does it mean to be “trauma-informed” and why does it matter for pediatric care?

The idea behind “trauma-informed” services is pretty straightforward:  

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How to Seamlessly Integrate Trauma Informed Care into Practice

Providing trauma informed care to children and families doesn't (and shouldn't) take much additional time for doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers. By simply integrating an understanding of traumatic stress in your routine care, you're providing trauma informed care... 

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Changing Shift for Trauma Informed Care?

Insufficient time presents as a common barrier to implementing trauma informed care within a hospital. With all the other duties and responsibilities doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers must address to care for the physical health of the patient, little time is afforded to addressing any concerns with coping with an injury or illness. 

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