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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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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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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Elliot and Kennedy

March 11, 2018

I adopted Elliot on September 23, 2005. The only pet I’d had before him was a fish. But after caring for my friends’ cats, I wanted to adopt one of my own – someone to keep me company. I joked that I’d just started law school and I needed someone to love but I didn’t have time for a boyfriend. Elliot brought so much joy to my life.

Exactly a year later, I adopted Kennedy. I knew Elliot needed a friend for the times I was away – the long days at school and the many hospital visits. Kennedy and Elliot loved each other from the start and their love carried me through some very hard times.

Any pet owner knows how dear their pets are to them. Pets are part of the family.

And if you’re disabled – mentally or physically, you know just how much pets are part of your healthcare. They heal you, they keep you grounded, they are your constant companions willing to love you no matter what.

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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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