F: Remember the Family

When practicing pediatric medicine, the patient and family form one cohesive unit, influencing each other as treatment and recovery progress. For this reason, doctors and nurses providing care through a trauma informed lens must involve, assess, and care for their patient's parents/ caregivers and other family members. 

Maybe you've completed a course in empathy. Or follow your hospital's family centered care guidelines exactly, every time, with every patient encounter. So of course, without a doubt, you're practicing trauma informed care…right? 

There's always at least one challenging patient. Maybe the department where you work encounters many difficult patients over the course of a shift. Maybe on your floor there's one patient and family in particular that proves challenging for everyone. How do you handle these patients?

If you work in healthcare, you probably it over and over again...patient centered care. Family centered care. Trauma informed care. They're all similar with their own nuances. 

"It takes a village to raise a child". This common saying can easily be applied to injury and illness: It takes a village to heal a child. Children rarely enter the medical system as a singular person like adults.

Whether you are caring for a pediatric patient with an injury or illness, remember that many, if not all, aspects of medical care can be traumatizing to both your patient and their families. 

A new addition to a family always requires a period of adjusting. When a baby arrives prematurely however, the family has to adjust not only to its new member, but possibly life in the NICU and the inherent emotional roller coaster of stress and anxiety. 

Three words no one wants to hear: "You have cancer". Or for parents: "Your child has cancer". The diagnosis can be devastating for both the mind and body. 

Whether it's injury or illness, the whole family, parents, grandparents, caregivers, brothers/sisters, all feel the impact of a sick child. Normal routines give way to hospital visits or doctors visits.

Like most other illnesses or injuries, babies born prematurely are at higher risk for many other physical and developmental disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, vision problems and learning disabilities. Parents  of NICU babies also experience high levels of stress and anxiety as well as traumatic stress reactions and PTSD ...