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How are we supporting patients experiencing trauma?
Kootenay Lake Hospital’s Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Working Group's online learning series trained staff in the five core principles of trauma-informed care, and equipped them with tools and skills to support patients.

2024 Lightning Talk: Trauma Informed Care – Dr Belinda van der Berg, Kootenay Lake Hospital

Trauma-informed care learning series

Eight participants including doctors, nurses, and midwives participated in sessions in compassionate inquiry led by a registered midwife to learn:

  • How to recognize the role trauma may play in a patient’s life and in their own personal experiences.
  • How the five principles (safety, choice, collaboration, trustworthiness, and empowerment) can be effectively utilized to lower the chance of patient re-traumatization.

Quick reference guide and posters

Alongside the training, a quick-reference guide was created for the medical staff to use when caring for patients showing signs of distress, along with two trauma-informed posters to post around the hospital.

Impact: Increased understanding, skills, and tools for patient care  

  • 100% of participants strongly agreed or agreed the course improved:
    • Their understanding of the impact of trauma on health and well-being 
    • The importance of utilizing trauma-informed care principles/lens
  • They also gained skills to respond with compassion to their own and their patients’ reactions to challenging experiences, in working with people who have experienced trauma, and managing job stressors.

Lessons and success factors

  • Interdisciplinary collaboration: The participation of physicians, midwives, and nurses in the series underscored the importance of collaborating on delivering trauma-informed care. Health authority partners supporting nurses to attend to sessions was key for success.
  • Supporting each other: The need for health care teams to work together to create a supportive environment for patients who have experienced trauma and to support one another.
  • Consistency: Having a reference guide ensures that providers across different departments have access to consistent information and language when implementing trauma-informed care. It helps reinforce key concepts and ensures that all patients receive the same high standard of care.

“Utilizing these tools, we found that our staff were doing so much better, they were understanding the concept of trauma much better, for themselves as well as for patients. We found that improved physician wellness and improved patient connectivity, ability to manage job stresses, and expertise in working with those who have experienced trauma.” – Dr Belinda van Der Berg 



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