What is a Trauma-Informed Approach

 In Series on trauma-informed care, Videos

In 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) added F-Tag 699 Trauma-Informed Care to the regulations for nursing homes. While largely focused on resident care, this guidance highlights the importance of recognizing and planning for care around trauma.

As health care and aging services professionals, we often think of trauma-informed care as an approach to care for older adults.

We tend to think about trauma-informed care as an individual response to an acute resident or patient situation.

Trauma-informed approaches are also useful as a framework to better recognize and address the needs of all members of a community – not just older adults in our care.

A trauma-informed approach is a way of operating that empowers all members of the organization and recognizes the collective experiences among them.

There are five principles of a trauma-informed approach: safety, choice, collaboration, trustworthiness, and empowerment.

The principle of safety is considerations for physical and mental health and safety.

The principle of choice is the creation of multiple options and control to decide best options AND re-evaluate.

The principle of collaboration is making decisions with others.

The principle of trustworthiness is clarity from support people, consistency, and follow-through.

The principle of empowerment is validation and affirmation that you are making appropriate choices/moves with the context/information that you have.

A program, organization, or system that is trauma-informed realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery; recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the system; and responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices, and seeks to actively resist re-traumatization. (SAMSHA 2014)

Think about how your organization might change its operations to integrate the five principles of a trauma-informed approach.

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