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At the organisational level, being trauma-informed means that all aspects of service delivery are guided by consideration of the potential trauma history of those who engage with the service. Becoming more trauma-informed involves all members of the organisation, and an evaluation of all practices and policies through a trauma-focused lens. Embedding trauma-informed care principles throughout an organisation also helps it to respond effectively when individual service users and communities are impacted by major events such as disasters.
More than three-quarters of Australians experience a potentially traumatic event at some point in their life. This means that your organisation will be interacting with, employing, or supporting individuals impacted by trauma, regardless of whether trauma recovery is the main focus of your engagement with the individual.
Six key principles underpin the trauma-informed care approach. These principles are grounded in research by Hopper et al. (2010) about what helps people recover from mental health conditions. Each principle is described below, followed by practical examples for implementing them at an organisational level.
TRAUMA AWARENESS: Trauma-informed organisations are aware of how trauma impacts people and their experience of engaging with organisations
PROMOTE SAFETY AND TRUST: Physical and psychological safety are promoted for both the trauma-impacted person and staff
REBUILD CONTROL: Trauma-impacted individuals are supported to rebuild a sense of control over positive outcomes in order to create a foundation for recovery
FOCUS ON STRENGTHS: Self- empowerment is encouraged in the trauma-impacted individuals by assisting them to draw upon and build their strengths and resources
PROMOTE CONNECTION: Trauma-informed organisations facilitate trauma-impacted individuals’ connections to various sources of support
COMMUNICATE BELIEF IN RECOVERY: A sense of hope and expectation of resilience and recovery is communicated, and an understanding about the challenges of recovery
There are a number of core actions to consider in the context of each principle:
A checklist can assist you to identify the key actions required to support you in aligning your organisation to current best practice in trauma-informed care. An example of such a checklist, created specifically for aged care leaders and managers, is available here.
To promote trauma awareness, organisations can:
To promote a sense of safety, organisations can:
To rebuild a sense of control, organisations can:
To focus on strengths, organisations can:
To promote connection, organisations can:
To communicate belief in recovery, organisations can: