Key Ingredients for Successful Trauma-Informed Care Implementation

Christopher Menschner
Alexandra Maul
April 2016

This resource, based on interviews with experts across the US, summarizes the key features of a trauma-informed approach to care. It includes a chart with descriptions of different approaches.

  • Trauma-informed care acknowledges the need to understand a person’s life experiences. It can improve patient engagement, treatment adherence, and health outcomes while reducing costs.
  • A set of relevant organizational competencies and clinical guidelines is emerging, but more needs to be done to develop an integrated, comprehensive approach.
  • Experts recommend reforming organizational practices prior to reforming clinical practices.
  • Key organizational practices include training staff in trauma-specific treatment, creating a safe environment, preventing secondary trauma in staff, and hiring a trauma-informed workforce.
  • Clinical components include involving patients in the treatment process, screening for trauma, and training staff in trauma-specific treatment approaches.
  • Moving forward, trauma-informed approaches to care need standardized language, payment reform, and a stronger evidence base.
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