Administering care through a trauma-informed lens in the emergency department can seem like a daunting task. However, we all know an emergency department visit is scary, especially for kids, and trauma-informed practices are exactly what's needed to minimize the distress of pediatric patients and their families. If your hospital employs child life specialists, they can work with you to lessen the traumatizing nature of the ED in various ways, such as: preparing the patient for a procedure, providing various distractions, or helping the patient and family with any transition home or to another department.  

Even if you have child life services available, simple ways to provide trauma informed care include:

  • Explaining that feeling worried, mad, sad, or confused is common and expected.
  • Asking about fears and worries and provide simple explanations for medical procedures.
  • Talking with the child at his/her eye level.
  • Encouraging parent presence and support parents in comforting their child.

What are some tips you have for providing trauma informed care in the emergency department?