Within the walls of a hospital, many doctors and nurses are aware of the benefits of practicing trauma informed care, such as promoting emotional recovery and helping to reduce additional trauma exposures from medical care for children and families. But not all medical care occurs within the hospital. How do other healthcare providers view trauma informed care?
A recent study, Trauma-informed care for children in the ambulance: international survey among pre-hospital providers published in European Journal of Psychotraumatology, surveyed pre-hospital providers about their knowledge and attitudes regarding pediatric traumatic stress and trauma informed care. From the over 800 international pre-hospital providers who completed the survey, researchers found there is not only a need, but also a desire, for education on pediatric traumatic stress and trauma informed care. Even though pre-hospital providers did not have extensive knowledge (2.7 (SD = 1.59) out of 7 knowledge questions asnwered correctly), the majority (84%) regarded psychosocial care of their pediatric patients part of their job. They also expressed a desire to gain more knowledge and skills and in pediatric psychosocial care, especially if training could occur through interactive website or one-time group training.
What can pre-hospital providers do to provide trauma informed care to their pediatric patients? First it’s important to understand aside from the actual injury or traumatic event resulting in the need to emergency services, children may find transport by ambulance scary, especially when separated from their parents/ caregivers. As a result, they may feel a far great life-threat than needed, which raises their risk of traumatic stress reactions. In addition, the accident scene and exposure to blood, injuries of others, damage of cars, property, etc can heighten the traumatic nature of the situation for children.
To help children cope, pre-hospital providers can:
- Give easy to understand explanations.
- Reduce the level of exposure to traumatic aspects of the scene and transport.
- When possible, allow the parents to be present. If it's not possible, understand you (the pre-hospital provider) will be viewed as a caretaker.