Trauma-Informed Care: An Evidence-Based Approach to Promote Healing and Growth

Saturday, 28 October 2017: 3:15 PM

Michelle Dang, PhD
Joyce Mikal-Flynn, EdD
School of Nursing, California State University, Sacramento, Sacramento, CA, USA

A traumatic event is defined as exposure to actual or threated death, serious injury, or sexual violence. Epidemiological data indicate that a large proportion of the world’s population has experienced traumatic events, resulting in a significant number of people being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Trauma-informed care utilizes a framework that recognizes different forms of trauma and helps survivors gain a sense of psychological and emotional safety, and reduces the risk of retraumatization.

To begin, traumatology is the study, development and application of psychological and counseling services for people who experienced extreme events. Trauma informed care, identified by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA, 2015) involves programs, organizations or systems that:

“1. Realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery;

2. Recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the system;

3. Responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices; and (PTG)

4. Seeks to actively resist re-traumatization.”

Finally, to ensure a balanced approach in how we interpret and deal effectively with traumatic events, research brought forth the concept of posttraumatic growth supporting a broader spectrum of this human experience. Children are exposed to acute and at times, chronic traumatic experiences influencing their physical, neurological and mental health, and ability to learn. This presentation will bring forth information for nurses to enhance their knowledge and assist in their work with patients who suffered or are burdened with trauma. The following areas will be covered: 1) Prevalence of trauma and various forms of traumatic events; 2) the neurobiology of trauma and how trauma impacts health and development; 3) A socio-ecological perspective to trauma and treatment; 4) Key principles of traumainformed care; and 5) How, through the healing process, nurses can promote resilience and growth after traumatic events.