Exposure to trauma – such as intimate partner violence, sexual violence, abuse, systemic racism, acts of terrorism, war, and natural disasters – at any stage of life can have serious and lasting effects on physical and mental health. Trauma-informed care (TIC) is a whole-person approach to health care that acknowledges the impact of trauma on health and facilitates long-term engagement in care that is inherently patient-centered. Trauma-informed workplace policies can also lead to greater overall support for the wellbeing and satisfaction of family physicians and their care team.
The key principles of TIC include:
Providing TIC does not require individuals to disclose their specific trauma history. Family physicians should approach TIC itself as a universal precaution by utilizing trauma-informed practices in all patient interactions, even if a patient’s experiences with trauma are unknown. The AAFP urges its members to understand and incorporate TIC into clinical practice. Medical schools and residencies should include instruction in trauma-informed care practices.