Culturally sensitive trauma informed care refers to the capacity for health care professionals to effectually provide trauma informed assessment and treatment that acknowledges, respects, and integrates patients' and families' cultural values, beliefs, and practices. Culture includes not only race and ethnicity, but also faith/religion, sexual orientation, region of residence, and level of acculturation, and closely related factors such as socioeconomic status and literacy level. 


Research suggests a patient's cultural background can influence the experience of trauma and traumatic stress reactions. Ethnocultural factors play an important role in their vulnerability to, and experience and expression of traumatic stress, as well as their response to trauma treatment.


To facilitate the practice of cultural sensitivity in practice, doctors and nurses may want to follow the Explanatory Model of Health and Illness, Social and Environmental Factors, Fears and Concerns, Therapeutic Contracting (ESFT) model. This model utilizes the following guidelines for providing care:  

(Image: Beard, Kenya V.; Gwanmesia, Eunice; Miranda-Diaz, Gina AJN The American Journal of Nursing. 115(6):58-62, June 2015.; doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000466326.99804.c4)


What other considerations should I keep in mind in providing culturally sensitive trauma informed care?


In your patient-provider relationships: 

- Understand your role as a provider within this family's world. 

- Gain a better understanding of the roles and dynamics within the family.

- Consider and facilitate the inclusion of others (extended family, clergy, healers) when treating patients.


When assessing and providing treatment:

- The manifestation and expression of psychological states differ depending on personal, familial, and cultural beliefs and practices. 

- Listen to and use the family's own terms during assessment and treatment planning. 

- Healing comes in many different forms; your ideas, beliefs, and values may differ from the family's. 

- Consider each family's resources and barriers to help-seeking and utilization of supportive services within the community.


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