Implementing a Trauma-Informed Care Framework

By Peter Gamache, Ph.D. & Jackie Sue Griffin, MBA, MS, Turnaround Life, Inc.

Developing a trauma-informed care framework is a complex process that requires a lot of changes in the organizations and systems providing care. In a previous post, we’ve outlined some of the proposed principles on which every organization and system should base their care.

However, the implementation of these programs remains a challenge. This implementation requires thorough action and a concerted effort from each institution dedicated to recovery. Let’s have a closer look at the process of implementing a framework to deal with trauma more effectively.

Domains of Implementation

The initial step required in implementing change is determining action processes for each domain involved in the solution. When it comes to trauma-informed care, those domains are:

  • Leadership — someone needs to lead the change efforts and be responsible for overseeing this work;
  • Policy — an organization should have an official trauma-informed care policy integrated into each of its practices;
  • Environment — an organization should ensure that its environment is inviting and poses no risk for an individual’s psychological or physical safety;
  • Engagement — individuals who are receiving services from an organization should have a voice and be engaged in different areas of organizational functioning;
  • Collaboration across sectors — healing trauma is a process that often requires a cross-sector approach;
  • Additional services — organizations should provide trauma screening, assessment, and treatment services;
  • Training — an organization’s HR systems should receive ongoing training to make trauma-informed hiring decisions and be able to support staff with a history of trauma appropriately;
  • Assessment — organizations should constantly evaluate their success at implementing trauma-informed principles in their everyday practice;
  • Financing — an organization’s financing should provide a structure that can support a trauma-informed approach;
  • Evaluation — evaluation of services should be performed with trauma-informed principles in mind.

Questions to Answer

Each of these domains has a multitude of questions to ask and answer before their implementation of trauma-informed approach can be deemed complete. For example, in regards to policy, an organization should be clear on how human resources policies tend to the impact of working with people who have experienced trauma.

Emphasizing the Importance of Understanding Trauma in Communities

While an organization or a system caring for people who have experienced trauma can create a safe space for them, it’s important to understand that outside communities might not be as safe or as nurturing. This is why it’s important to both educate publics to facilitate a better understanding of trauma, as well as to provide resources for individuals afflicted by trauma and their families to mobilize their community and help them respond to the adverse effects of trauma.

As a complex issue, trauma is not easy to handle. However, with knowledge and compassion, we can begin to implement trauma-informed care systems and frameworks that will help us move past re-traumatizing individuals who seek help and care.

Here at Turnaround Life, Inc., we aim to help organizations and programs that make it possible for people to turn their lives around. For more information about us, visit our website.

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