What is trauma-informed care?
Trauma-informed care (TIC) is an approach to treatment that recognizes and responds to the widespread impact of trauma on individuals. It emphasizes the physical, psychological, and emotional safety of patients in all aspects of treatment.
TIC is not about treating traumatic experiences but rather in managing the symptoms of trauma and reducing the likelihood of re-traumatizing the patient in the care experience. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has identified six principles that guide a trauma-informed approach to treatment:
Safety (patients need to feel physically, emotionally, and psychologically safe and secure when in the care of healthcare professionals)
Trustworthiness and transparency (providers and facilities need to be transparent with patients to earn their trust)
Peer support (providers and facilities need to acknowledge patients’ traumatic conditions and receive support from their peers to avoid secondary traumatic stress and burnout)
Collaboration and mutuality (providers and facilities should view patients as partners in developing treatment plans)
Empowerment, voice, and choice (providers and facilities need to empower patients to take back control of their health)
Cultural, historical, and gender issues (providers and facilities need to recognize and eliminate any potential cultural, racial, gender, or other related biases and accommodate patients’ unique needs)
In practicing trauma-informed care, providers need to be aware of these six principles and adjust their treatment accordingly.