All doctors, nurses and other health professionals have one goal in mind: return a patient to a state of health. While traumatic stress reactions to illness and injury can interfere, other environmental and psychosocial factors can also negatively influence treatment adherence and health outcomes. Addressing these factors can improve health outcomes. Dr. Leana Wen, an attending physician and director of patient-centered care research in the Department of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University, adds, "doctors and nurses need to understand where our patients live, work and play. We need to connect with and really listen to our patients. It's these deeply personal conversations that allow us to diagnose and treat the real causes of our patients' ills".
That's the essence of trauma informed care. It means taking a step beyond the patient's diagnosis, asking what's happening in their daily lives, and taking the time to really listen to what they say. It means implementing universal screening to assess the psychosocial health of all your patients and their families. It means working with your patients/families to understand and overcome barriers to treatment, connecting them to the support and resources they may need.