It's not hard to imagine why medical events, like injury and illness, are traumatic experiences for children and families and may result in traumatic stress reactions. Medical providers practicing through a trauma informed lens understand how traumatic medical events affect patients and adjust the care they provide accordingly.
But providing trauma informed care goes beyond simply understanding the traumatizing potential of medical events. Trauma informed care also incorporates an understanding of who the patient is and what's happened in their life. In other words, trauma informed care incorporates an understanding of adverse childhood experiences. What are adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs? Experiences such as "childhood abuse, neglect, and exposure to other traumatic stressors" which add a level of constant distress, making additional stressors (like an injury or illness), even more challenging to cope with effectively.
What can doctors, nurses, and even hospital systems do to address ACEs and help children and families? While there's no one size solution which will work for every hospital system, finding ways to incorporate trauma informed care will help. Cincinnati Children's Hospital screens all patients and for those most in need, a case manager, social workers and behavioral health workers work together to address both the medical and home concerns. This is just one example of incorporating an understanding of trauma informed care and ACEs through out a hospital system. Join to the conversation on Facebook to share how your hospital implements trauma informed care and addresses ACEs.