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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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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Stigma and Borderline Personality Disorder

September 29, 2017

Stigma against those with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is endemic and rampant in the medical and mental health professionals.  Such stigma is often expressed overtly as well as subtly to patients, impacting their care in dramatic ways.

This stigma needs to stop and it needs to start with not only the public but with providers of all kinds assessing their biases and misunderstandings of this illness and taking responsibility for their actions.

Here I present the research on the most pertinent research surrounding this issue.

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Healthcare Does Not Have a Problem With Silos

August 3, 2017

Healthcare does not have a problem with silos.

In fact, there are no silos in healthcare; there are only boundaries.

If we truly want to change healthcare, we need to break boundaries.

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Customer Service

December 21, 2014

My second real job was working as a cashier at Nordstrom in the Women’s Shoe department (my first job as a sales associate at a small children’s bookstore – Sunnybooks for Kids).  At orientation, Nordstrom taught us a few things that have stuck with me throughout my life since – people are generally telling the truth, customer service is paramount, and treat everyone with dignity.  Lessons that should be applied to healthcare (and life).

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Why EMTALA Still Matters But Isn’t Enough

March 17, 2014

Last week I talked about my experience in the hospital that was Not Meant to Be.  Among the many issues was an overarching theme of access to healthcare.  As I said before, only by the grace of the passage of EMTALA (the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act) passed in 1986, was I able to get the care I needed.

EMTALA requires Medicare-participating hospitals that offer emergency services to provide medical screening examination and stabilizing treatment for patients with emergency medical conditions regardless of an individual’s ability to pay.  EMTALA is incredibly important for the uninsured, but it isn’t enough. Read the rest of this entry »


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