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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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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It is Okay to Be Angry

February 2, 2018

Anger in healthcare is often justified though usually disparaged.  It is an emotion that is considered “negative” and “uncivil.” In a culture still stuck on positivity and “choosing to be happy” it’s an emotion that is shunned.  People turn away from anger, afraid or disgusted by this unruly emotion. But perhaps we should turn into anger if we really want to change healthcare.

Anger is rightfully feared. Anger can lead to rage. Anger can hurt others. Anger can destroy.

Anger is often suppressed held in until it boils over, erupting and affecting everyone in its wake.

Anger is not pretty.  Anger is hard to confront – no one wants to look directly at it.

Yet anger, like any emotion, needs to be expressed.  Anger is real and valid just as sadness or happiness.

It is okay to be angry.

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Sacrifices and Ripple Effects

January 15, 2018

I have had many a terse conversation with doctors about the sacrifices they make to medicine – all they give to take care of patients.  I recognize and respect their sacrifices, sacrifices of time, energy, mental health.  The suicide rates for doctors is a crisis in itself as highlighted in this recent post in the Washington Post – “What I’ve learned from my tally of 757 doctor suicides.” The effects of the sacrifices that doctors make to the profession are real, but they aren’t the only ones who sacrifice.

There are ripple effects.

There are consequences for those immersed in medicine, surrounded by it.  For those of us who are not doctors whose lives are intricately linked to this profession that can both hurt and heal in the most profound ways.

When I have these discussions with doctors, they have no idea what I’ve sacrificed.  I haven’t been able to talk about it before in more than obscure references.  But now I can and I think what I have might be worth saying both to understand my advocacy better and perhaps, even more importantly, help doctors gain another view of medicine – one that holds compassion for their lives and also asks for acknowledgment of ours.

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The 4 Stages of Treating Me

January 9, 2018

There are 4 stages to treating me:

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Personal Health Record Template

October 27, 2017

I have a lot of doctors.  A lot of doctors.  I’ve seen more than I can count and each time I go in, they ask me to fill out a new patient form.  Inevitably, the form does not have enough space to include all of my information.  And worse, I’ve already filled this form out in hundreds of other places.  So I decided to make my own form – a personal health record (PHR).

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