When children and families experience a medical trauma, their cultural norms, beliefs and values will shape the interactions with their medical team. Much of time, differences between the culture of patients and the various cultures of those on their medical team do not appear to impact care. However, a study published in the October issue of Pediatrics found disparities between pain management efforts and wait times in children of different races receiving care in the ER. While researchers could not pinpoint a reason for the study results, pausing to remember children and families will respond to traumatic events differently could help ensure all families receive optimal care.
Here are several tips for providing culturally sensitive trauma-informed care:
• Recognize the cultural variations in the perception of trauma and traumatic stress responses.
• Ask children and families about what the trauma means to them, and incorporate these beliefs in assessment and treatment.
• Listen to and integrate the child or family's own terms for what they are experiencing.
• Understand family dynamics and decision-making and how your helping role is perceived.
• Be open to including kinship networks and other types of healing professionals or practices that the family views as helpful.
• Remember and respect that some children's and families' interpretations, experiences, and practices my differ from your own.