When you walk into a patient's room, what questions do you ask? Do you ask what's the matter with them? Or do you ask what happened to them? Subtle difference between the two questions, but when asking what happened to your patients, you open up the door to a deeper conversation. One where you might discover traumatic experiences which could be shaping the way your patient behaves.
In an older study at Kaiser Permanente, researchers found that almost 50% of participants had an Adverse Childhood Event (ACE), which includes events like death of parent, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and substance abuse by a parent. Newer research now suggests that ACEs permanently change the development of a child's brain and lead to increased healthcare utilization as an adult.
As pediatric healthcare providers, you have the opportunity to address ACEs, preventing future physical and mental health issues. By practicing trauma-informed care, asking questions that dig a bit deeper, or using a quick assessment like the D-E-F Protocol, you can make a lasting impact on your patient's health and well being.
What questions do you ask when you walk into your patient's room?