July 11, 2012
The Trauma Therapy Program (TTP) at Women’s College Hospital (WCH) is a highly regarded mental health program providing services for patients who have suffered from interpersonal trauma. The diverse team consists of interprofessional health-care practitioners who all play an integral role assisting patients in a safe and trustworthy environment.
At WCH we are always looking for ways to share our expertise and create initiatives to enhance patient care at our hospital and beyond. And the Trauma Therapy Program is no different.
In fact, the team recently hosted an engaging meeting and a thought-provoking conference that brought together experts and health-care providers in the field to discuss, learn and share ideas about trauma-informed care and why it’s important.
“Health providers need to have some rudimentary knowledge of trauma and its impact, and how to work sensitively with patients,” said Dr. Catherine Classen, director of the Women’s Mental Health Research Program at Women’s College Research Institute. “We need to reach out and educate those health providers who are not aware of the incidence and long-term effects of psychological trauma including the far-reaching impact of psychological trauma on physical health. We also need to educate health providers on how to deliver health care in a way that is sensitive to their unique needs.”
In June, Dr. Classen hosted a two-day meeting, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), involving a group of trauma experts from across North America who worked together to develop a tool to assist health-care providers in gauging their knowledge of trauma and trauma-informed care. After hours of comprehensive discussions, the group envisioned an interactive website that health-care providers could access to test their knowledge and to provide them with appropriate resources if they are unfamiliar with a particular aspect of psychological trauma or trauma-informed care.
“This tool will help them identify gaps in knowledge, and point them to where they can get information to fill those gaps,” said Dr. Classen.
Taking advantage of having so many experts in the trauma field all in one location, TTP hosted a one-day conference called Trauma Talks: Advancing the dialogue on trauma-informed care, and had more than 260 mental health practitioners in attendance.
Leaders in the trauma field presented engaging lectures on a variety of topics on trauma and trauma-informed care. Networking sessions allowed participants to converse about their experiences and opinions, all with one goal in mind, providing high-quality care for trauma patients.
“The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive,” says Dr. Classen. “There’s clearly a growing sense of excitement and optimism about making health care more trauma-informed. We’ve already begun preparing for next year’s event.”
Dr. Valerie Taylor, psychiatrist-in-chief, WCH agreed that both the meeting and the Trauma Talks conference were an extraordinary achievement.
“Congratulations to the planning committee, the Trauma Therapy Program, and all the volunteers who helped make both the meeting and the first Trauma Talks conference a success,” she said. “I believe this event accomplished an amazing feat, sharing information and setting up the Trauma Therapy Program at Women’s College Hospital as a world leader in trauma care.”
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