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 and helping your patients cope with their emotional reactions to illness and injury. This means:
- Taking steps to lessen the traumatic aspects of medical care.
- Providing your patients and families with basic information and support.
- Screening for psychosocial risks.
- Educating your patient and co-workers about traumatic stress reactions as well as effective coping resources.
- Remaining aware of your own stress level.
Trauma informed care can be implemented in many different ways, in many different situations, and tailored to a hospital unit's needs. Patient's suggestions to improve the delivery of care can also help make care more trauma informed. Here are some examples from one patient who listed 10 suggestions to make hospital care better:
- Don’t lose my personal belongings. Take an inventory and label everything with my name and medical record number so my personal belongings do not get misplaced. These belongings are an extension of me and make me feel more at ease. Taking care of my stuff feels like you are taking care of me.
- Knock on the door before entering. This shows respect for me as an individual and my privacy. Introduce yourself to me and shake hands or make eye contact when you do this. Call me by my preferred name (formal or first name).
- Update me and my family if you notice changes in my condition. Keep communication open. Please keep me informed of delays — it lessens my anxiety during an already stressful time
- Listen to me and engage me in my care. Use plain language and make sure I understand my plan of care.
- Please orient me to my room and the hospital so I know where important things are located, how to work the television, how to order food and when my linens may be changed. I am a guest here and don’t know these things, yet these are important to me.
Most of these suggestions, as well as many others, are simple to implement and go along way to lessen a patient's distress. Join the conversation on our Facebook page to share more ways to seamlessly integrate trauma informed care into your routine care.