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Trauma-informed care is an approach to caretaking that ensures that healthcare institutions and teams fully absorb the surrounding of their patient’s life, their past, and their present so as to treat them with the care and kindness they deserve, away from judgement or any line of questioning that might make them feel even slightly uncomfortable or unwelcome.

Practicing trauma-informed care shows an improvement in the engagement of trauma patients, as well as cooperation with treatments, ultimately translating to an overall better health outcome.

Some of the main purposes of Trauma-informed care are to understand the long-term impacts of trauma, as well as the pathways to recovery; to identify and understand the different signs and the conditions of trauma in patients, in their families, and in their staff; to keep the world informed about trauma by incorporating its teachings into procedures and practices – all in order to be conscious enough of other people that our actions to not lead to their re-traumatisation.

While trauma in itself does not have a set definition, there are various forms. For context, some of the traumas that individuals may experience are physical, domestic, sexual, emotional, or psychological abuse; neglect; PTSD from war, or natural disasters; accidents or severe injuries; the loss of someone dear to them; terrorism, or kidnappings; childhood trauma; to name a few.

Delve into the study of trauma-informed care with Medfuture, where we understand how one person’s trauma, however, cannot be compared to another’s- Trauma-informed care acknowledges this, and treats all individuals with the empathy, respect, and kindness they deserve.

What are the main principles of Trauma-informed care?

Trauma-informed approaches to care are maintained to ensure that a healthcare setting is completely transformed to accommodate the needs of their patient, and heal them, in both little and large ways.

One of the core principles of trauma-informed care is Safety. Not only is it the responsibility of the healthcare provider to create a safe, protected environment for their patient, but also the responsibility of the organisation as a whole to ensure that their staff feel physically and psychologically safe enough to treat their patients in the same conscious and empathetic manner.

Most organisations forget the impact that any and all interactions may have on patients. When a patient walks into a clinic, they are met with workers at the front desk, the security guards outside, and nurses or staff that may assist and guide them to their final healthcare providers. All of these people hold a much bigger responsibility than they realise, and must be well informed and trained to welcome each of their clients with utmost care and support.

Another principle of trauma-informed care is the Trustworthiness and Transparency that takes place during the sessions. The healthcare provider must ensure that throughout the process, they keep their client aware, and in the loop of what they intend on doing, and how they intend on going about things. This transparency not only keeps the client reassured, but also keeps them informed on the process, so that they can manage their expectations throughout. In the long term, this will build the trust of the patient, and the provider will be able to maintain a secure relationship with them so as to work towards healing more efficiently and cooperatively than otherwise.

Peer Support is a principle that once again cannot simply be executed by just the main healthcare provider. Rather, it is an experience where groups of individuals who underwent, or are undergoing similar experiences discuss them in a group setting where there are no judgements, no comparisons, and only trust. In this setting, individuals are meant to feel their most comfortable, but also vulnerable, because they can hardly feel shame over their past, or fall into the blackhole of the stigma that surrounds their experience, when they are around other individuals who may understand them best because they relate to them in most senses.

When it comes to decision-making in an organisation that adopts trauma-informed care, all those involved are expected to let go of the power and level differences, and come together to make the best decisions and take the most sensible courses of action throughout the healing processes. This principle is of Collaboration, between the staff and clients, and also between the organisational staff themselves.

In this environment, Empowerment plays a major role. The strengths and skill set that the patients and staff members have are identified, validated, and then nurtured in order to create a better sense of self-understanding, self-esteem, and a feeling of resilience that they understand came from a part of them, rather than someone else. All of this ultimately gives them the ability to grow and heal from their traumas.

These organisations are supposed to be safe spaces for all people, no matter where they come from, what they look like, and who they are. In a trauma-informed care centre, there aren’t meant to be biases, stereotypes, or any sort of stigma. Therefore, every individual that interacts with the client, must maintain Humility and Responsiveness in the way they carry themselves, in their words, and in their actions. They must also acknowledge the struggle of those facing any of the aforementioned struggles, or experiences as minorities of any kind, in society,

Becoming a Trauma-Informed Organisation

Medfuture believes that the road to becoming a trauma-informed organisation, albeit challenging, is a rewarding journey.

The way in which an organisation can transform to a fully trauma-informed one, consists of four phases.

Phase 1 is where an organisation becomes Trauma Aware. Here, individuals begin to understand, and acknowledge the trauma around them. While not everyone may have suffered some type of trauma, it appears in places that we tend to dismiss unless we truly pay attention to the people around us. Communities, clients, and our very own colleagues and families may show effects of trauma that if we don’t pay attention to, could very easily be overseen. This initial state of self-awareness allows us to take the first step towards making the people around us feel safe, and creating a positive, and more empathetic environment.

The second Phase is known as Trauma Sensitive. In this stage, when we begin to identify different traumas that require different approaches, we take more of an effort in understanding and educating ourselves on the differences in the processes and treatments of the different traumas in different individuals. Consequently, we also build on our knowledge of what a trauma-informed space is meant to be like.

The 3rd Phase is Trauma Response. At this stage, it is no longer about simply acknowledging what those undergoing their different types of trauma are feeling. Rather, this stage is where we steadily become more responsive towards the different traumas that we are surrounded by. At this point, the individuals of the entity must not only change themselves to be responsive, but must also begin to review their organisations procedures and policies in order to ensure that the way any of them respond to traumas, is based off of what they know about them, and they treat the conditions with as much consideration as they can in everything that they do.

The 4th and final stage are Trauma Informed. At this point, after all of the staff members of the entity, and anyone even slightly associated in the daily operations of the organisation are educated and trained in this aspect, it can be considered a Trauma-informed establishment. Knowledge never stops, and education is an endless road. Therefore, simply reaching this stage does not give allowance to the organisation to stop developing. Rather, they must choose to continue growing in their mission to maintain their status in this regard.

Throughout this journey, it is important that care centres and organisations avoid Co-optation at all costs. Co-optation is when a group of individuals demean or dismiss another, smaller group in order to get rid of what they may consider a threat. It occurs mainly if individuals lose touch with the values of peer support, and are hostile and look down on people who use the service in their journey to recovery. Organisations that are hostile and have uninformed, close-minded views on peer roles, or trauma-informed practices, can make those who suffer with such traumas feel closed out, uncomfortable, threatened and unwanted. To avoid this, individuals must consistently educate themselves and each other on the topic of trauma, and discuss peer support values, while maintaining relationships with staff that rely on, and are a part of these communities.

Contact Medfuture

A reputed medical and healthcare recruitment agency, connects qualified and experienced healthcare professionals on a global scale. From International Medical Graduates or Psychologists who wish to pursue their careers in Australia, to organisations who want to transform themselves into comfortable, safer spaces, Medfuture is here to help.

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