Trauma Informed Care in Practice

June 25, 2018

Trauma Informed Care: when every part of a service is assessed and potentially modified to include an understanding of the emotional issues, expectations, and special needs that a trauma survivor may have in a healthcare setting.

Trauma survivors have unique healthcare needs. For various reasons – including time pressures, lack of awareness of these needs, lack of education about trauma informed care techniques, and stigma that labels survivors as “difficult” – these needs are often not met in the current healthcare system. While I’ve discussed previously the implications of trauma-informed care, many providers may not know what to do to help survivors. Below are some practical trauma informed suggestions offered by experts that can be taken to help survivors in medical encounters.

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Trauma Informed Care

June 25, 2018

Current events are bringing awareness to trauma and its lasting effects on the mind and body.  But few are talking about the implications this has for trauma survivors in seeking care and the lack of trauma informed care in medicine.

Trauma Informed Care: when every part of a service is assessed and potentially modified to include an understanding of the emotional issues, expectations, and special needs that a trauma survivor may have in a healthcare setting.[1],[2]

Trauma informed care needs to be a central aspect of these discussions as trauma lasts a lifetime but few health care providers are well trained in the trauma-informed care approaches. This means that many with a history of trauma – which can include medical trauma, domestic violence, childhood abuse, sexual assault, and more – can face retraumitization when seeking care. Unfortunately, this population often needs more care as trauma brings chronic physical and psychological illnesses or to address injuries caused by trauma (even long after the traumatic incident).

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Books on Wars and Genocides

June 16, 2018

Remnant from Stari Most (Old Bridge) in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina destroyed on November 9, 1993.

Never again is a phrase we hear over and over and over again when we talk of war and genocides. And yet, history continues to repeat itself. In part, history repeats itself because we don’t know the past. Few want to dive into the horrors that occurred from country to country. Most find it to be “too much” and feel they cannot stomach these realities. But we must.

We must turn into suffering. We must bear witness to what has happened. We must have the courage to confront gruesome truths.

And so I offer a brief list of books (and encourage anyone to add books in the comments) on war and genocides. I have purposefully not included books on the Holocaust, not because they aren’t important but because I wanted to highlight that these atrocities have happened around the world, despite our promises of “never again.”

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Is it safe to reach out?

June 8, 2018

“Reach out”

“Just call someone”

“Call the helpline”

That’s what people say when the topic of suicide comes up.

They mostly mean well when they say these things. People trying to do something when they don’t know what else to do.

For some of us who have been through hell and back with mental illness though, we know it’s not always safe to reach out. It’s not safe to call anyone. It’s not safe to talk about what’s really going on in our minds.

When you have mental illness and you reach out, there are consequences. Reaching out can make things worse.

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Advance Directives and Life After Death

May 18, 2018

In America and in many cultures around the world, death is a taboo subject. People do not like to think about death or the options for care should they be incapacitated. Yet these are incredibly important topics to have with friends and family and to plan for ahead of time.

As I update my Advance Directives in preparation for surgery next week, I want to go over some of the basics of Advance Directives and body donation after death (for transplant or to science). And I’d encourage anyone over the age of 18 to consider having Advance Directives whether facing a medical event or not.

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Why Can’t You Work? Explaining Disability

April 14, 2018

Time and again, in comments on this blog, on Twitter, by professionals, by people who both know me and don’t, I’m asked why I can’t just work. I’m told, “You’re so smart, you surely can work.” Or, as I’ve written about in the past, “But you have your law degree!” I’m tired of defending myself from these assertions – some perhaps well meaning but most coming with deep judgment and scorn.  So I think it’s time to provide some information on disability.

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On the Other Side of Advocacy

March 23, 2018

Yesterday I testified on House Bill 1009, Diabetes Drug Pricing Transparency Act 2018 in the Colorado State Legislature’s House Health, Insurance, and Environment Committee.  Today is the other side of advocacy.

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