A new animation, co-produced by researchers at the University of Bristol and part-funded by the Bristol BRC, explains what a trauma-informed approach in healthcare is. It also talks about how UK healthcare organisations can become trauma-informed to prevent re-traumatisation in services and improve experiences and outcomes for all.
The four-minute video tells the stories of Sophie and Saida, both of whom carry traumatic experiences from the past, which shape their health and behavior and put them at risk of re-traumatisation in health services.
Their stories are followed by a summary of findings from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) funded TAP CARE Study, which reviewed evidence of the effectiveness of trauma-informed approaches to healthcare and identified key components for organisational change.
The animation was co-produced with patient and professional stakeholders, Floating Harbour Studios, and The Survivors Trust, a national umbrella organisation for specialist rape and sexual abuse services in the UK.
Dr Natalia Lewis, Senior Research Fellow in Primary Care at the Centre for Academic Primary Care at the University of Bristol, who led the TAP CARE study said:
“We are delighted to launch this animation today and hope that it helps healthcare professionals, policy makers and members of the public learn about evidence for the effectiveness of trauma-informed healthcare and necessary conditions for implementing it in the UK.
“Psychological trauma occurs because of childhood maltreatment, domestic abuse, community violence, and social injustice. We know that many patients and healthcare professionals have experienced multiple traumas. If the prevalence and impacts of trauma are not addressed, services can re-traumatise both patients and staff.
“A trauma-informed approach is an organisational change programme that aims to prevent re-traumatisation and improve experiences and outcomes for patients and staff. Many UK policies and guidelines recommend trauma-informed transformation in healthcare organisations. Our next step is to work with GP practices to explore the barriers and enablers to starting a trauma-informed organisational change. We will report on the findings next year.”
Fay Maxted, CEO of The Survivors Trust, said:
“We were so pleased to work with Dr Lewis and the TAP CARE team on this crucial project, and to be able to launch the animation during National Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week.
“There is a lot of talk about being trauma-informed and working in a trauma-informed way, but as the TAP CARE Study found, there is generally poor understanding of what it actually means or what needs to happen to support trauma-informed practice.
“Despite this, there is growing evidence of the benefits for both patients and healthcare staff in adopting trauma-informed principles. The TAP CARE Study really brings home the importance of trauma-informed care and what is needed for effective implementation.”