Trauma Informed Care - Why it is Vital Now

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Columbine Commons Assisted Living - Columbine Health

Posted on

Aug 25, 2021

Book/Edition

Colorado - Northern Colorado

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I recall when the world COVID journey started, our Medical Director said we could be in COVID-mode for the next two years. What? I thought to myself, please dont say that out loud. Dont send it out into the universe! Deep down, I knew she was right. I also knew COVID would become part of the health care fabric of diseases we need to manage and treat for the older adults we serve.
As we have walked the COVID journey, we saw our residents, staff, and families become strong and then stronger. Their resiliency and dogged determination were an inspiration. Everyone was in the trench fighting together. Then the light came at the end of the tunnel. vaccines. What a blessing.
As the COVID positive numbers declined, so did everyones energy. Their enthusiasm for the fight had waned. People were tired. Residents. Staff. Families. They were emotionally worn out. Our resiliency meter was low. Some had experienced trauma. COVID has brought trauma.
According to the National Council for Behavioral Health, 70% of adults have experienced some kind of traumatic event. COVID is not even in this equation, yet.
For those of us in senior care, there is a high likelihood that many of our residents and staff could be affected by trauma. Would it be safe to say, we should approach each thinking there may be a response from something that occurred in their life? We think so. We think COVID has added to our mental health and resiliency, and not always in the best way.
Should we become a Trauma-Informed organization? We answered with a resounding, YES! The Trauma Informed Care Project of Orchard Place/Child Guidance Center defines Trauma-Informed Care as an organizational structure and treatment framework that involves understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma; emphasizing physical, psychological, and emotional safety for both consumers and providers, and helps survivors rebuild a sense of control and empowerment.
Realizing there may be trauma, recognizing the signs and symptoms, responding with trauma informed policies/practices, and resisting re-traumatization are the key principles to a successful trauma-informed effort.
Editors note: This article was submitted by Yvonne Myers, Health Systems Director with Columbine Health Systems. She may be reached at 970-482-0198 or by email at: yvonne.myers@columbinehealth.com

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