With statistics of 5 in 6 injured children and their parents having a severe traumatic stress symptom within the first month, and 1 in 6 still experiencing these symptoms many months later, working to ensure better recovery should be in the forefront for any doctor, nurse or healthcare provider. Posttraumatic stress symptoms can range from unwanted and intrusive thoughts about what happened and extreme avoidance of reminders of the event, to exaggerated startle responses and difficulty sleeping or concentrating. PTSD can affect physical and function recovery.
What can be done to reduce PTSD symptoms? First, implementing trauma informed care practices into daily practice should be a priority to prevent traumatic stress reactions and PTSD. Trauma informed care recognizes the many outside influences children and families carry with them when trauma occurs. It also recognizes the inherent traumatizing nature of accidents and the subsequent medical care and recovery. It provides universal screening, like the DEF protocol, to all pediatric trauma patients and their families.
And what about the children and families who are screened at higher risk and require more assistance? Do prevention based interventions exists to support them through their emotional recovery after an injury? Researchers are currently developing and refining web based health information and interventions to prevent and reduce traumatic stress and PTSD symptoms. These types of interventions are especially important and well suited for patients not likely to pursue mental health care after discharge.
What types of interventions, web based or other, are available to your pediatric trauma patients and families?