Child trauma: Encouraging relationships that promote healing

A recent study has found that relationships are a key to addressing child trauma. In the review article, Lawrence Wissow from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School and his colleagues combined conclusions from three previous systematic reviews examining relationships between pediatric patients and healthcare providers, among healthcare staff at the same practice, and among primary care providers and specialists.

This research suggested that it’s vital for patients to form healthy relationships with staff from the moment they contact a care facility, not only including those that directly provide healthcare, but also those that answer phones or check them into appointments.

“For trauma patients, knowing that you’ll be respected, that people will explain things to you, that you’ll have choices and won’t be trapped, all of this is important to achieving good outcomes,” Wissow said.

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Similarly, he added, the research showed that having staff at the same healthcare practice who collaborate well despite constant exposure to patients’ crises, as well primary care providers who have personal relationships with specialists and community organizations that also assist trauma patients, is key to getting patients the resources they need to heal.

“Trauma care really depends not only on what you do for patients but how you do it,” said Wissow. “Forging these strong and healthy relationships among staff creates an environment where you can deliver care that makes a positive impact.”

The study appears in a special issue of Academic Pediatrics.


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