Trauma Informed Care

Trauma exposure can deeply affect someone’s psychological, physical, spiritual, environmental, and social well-being. Trauma can mean something different to anyone, but it tends to have the same type of impact on one’s life all the same. Trauma can take a severe toll on someone psychologically, by impeding their thoughts, their coping mechanisms, and overall can affect their mental health, which then can affect other aspects of their life. Physically, trauma can drive someone to stop taking care of themselves all together. Poor hygiene, a messy house, weight gain/loss, and sudden medical conditions are all things that can be seen. For some, trauma can induce a spiritual awakening within themselves, and make them closer to God as they find it to be comforting, but for others, trauma can make someone lose faith altogether as they might find that God had let them down. Trauma can also impact their environment. Certain places can trigger someone, reminding them of their experience and this can be super uncomfortable and may bring up old memories. One of the biggest impacts that trauma has, is on their social life and how they interact with others. Sometimes this means not hanging around their family and friends anymore, and isolating themselves. It can make them withdrawn and not excited about the things they used to be excited about. Usually this is one of the biggest indicators of how trauma is affecting someone. 

Long term effects of adverse childhood experiences include depression and other mental disorders, medical conditions such as heart disease, financial troubles as an adult, and possibly substance abuse. Unfortunately trauma can stick with someone for their whole life and is known to have life-long impacts. Some people may not get the help they need to cope, which is one of the main reasons that the effects can spiral out of control later on in life.  As a future nurse, I will apply the five TIC principles into my practice with all of my patients, knowing that anyone can have a history of trauma whether they decide to disclose it to me or not. I will always make my patients feel safe within my care, and even ask them if there is anything that can make them feel more safe, or if something makes them uncomfortable. This means telling them where I will be touching them to do assessments, and of course asking them if they are okay with it as well. It is important to be cognizant of everyone’s experiences, and comfortability level. Next, it is important to establish trust and transparency. Being honest with them is important as someone with trauma may be untrustworthy in the first place. By establishing honesty and transparency, it is then that trust can be born. This will make taking care of them easier for me as their caretaker, and easier for the patient to receive the care. I will also give choice and empowerment to all my patients. The choices that the patient makes are theirs to have, and is something that should never be taken away. There will be times I don’t agree with their choices, and may even advise against it, but they are in charge of their care at the end of the day.

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