By sheer repetition, trauma care providers have become quite facile with care of the injured child, and physical injuries can be treated with good outcomes. [But] psychological injuries, most notably posttraumatic stress, have largely been overlooked. Complete and optimal care of the injured child and family must include assessment and intervention with this component.
– a trauma surgeon

Trauma-Informed Pediatric Care
means incorporating an understanding of traumatic stress in each clinical encounter with ill or injured children and their families.

Implementing Trauma-Informed Pediatric Care can address other important goals shared by many pediatric health care settings, such as

Family-Centered Care

The 'team' really listened to us…Although they had their own plan, they took our input as [our child’s] historians and made us feel part of the team.

Implementing Trauma-Informed Pediatric Care will support and strengthen efforts to implement Family-Centered Care.

Pediatric providers familiar with implementing family-centered care will note many areas of overlap between family-centered and trauma-informed care.

Trauma-informed care brings a distinct focus on awareness of traumatic stress related to medical events, but also includes a very central role for involving families and promoting family strengths.

Many key professional groups have identified family-centered care as key to excellent pediatric medical care (go to .pdf from Institute for Family-Centered Care).

Click here for guidance on family-centered care from leading pediatric health care organizations.

In collaboration with families and other health care professionals, pediatricians should examine systems of care, individual interactions with patients and families, and patient flow and should modify these as needed to improve the patient's and
family's experience of care.
-From the AAP Committee on Hospital Care

Improving the Quality of Care

The Institute of Medicine’s landmark report "Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century" (2001) drew attention to providing emotional support and relieving fear and anxiety as key to quality patient-centered health care.

Trauma-Informed Pediatric Care can promote health care facilities’ existing efforts to improve the quality of care, meet regulatory and accreditation requirements, and increase patient and family satisfaction with care.

  • Optimizing pain management to reduce distress also addresses JCAHO standards for appropriate assessment and management of pain.
  • Maximizing continuity of care for patient emotional needs addresses the IOM’s goals for high quality patient-centered care.
  • Clear communication between patients / families and the health care team is key to improving patient safety and reducing medical errors.
  • Key elements of Trauma-Informed Pediatric Care can be implemented as part of formal quality improvement initiatives.