BAC’s Trauma-Informed Care Journey
At BAC, eighty percent of our clients present symptoms of trauma.
As the first HIV/AIDS organization in Brookly since 1984, we have learned from working with low-income immigrant communities that — without addressing trauma and its effects on our clients, the impact of our work cannot be fully utilized.
Knowing about trauma is beneficial for clients and their families, communities, agency, and agency staff.
After years of implementing evidenced-based models, the Leadership at BAC began integrating trauma-informed care in 2012. We started with evaluating all intervention strategies in place and adopting new screening and assessment tools. These tools, which focus on assessing clients’ level of functioning, degree of disease severity, and degree of trauma symptoms, have allowed us to expand our understanding of the household, community, and environmental factors of traumatic experience. To assist with care planning and enhance decision-making, we utilize technology to incorporate these tools into our electronic health record system.
Since then, we have seen positive results, and we continue building our capacity to deepen our commitment.
Check out these resources to learn more about “What is Trauma?”
Improve Health Outcomes
In 2018, BAC piloted the integration of trauma-informed care within the everyday practice of the Harm Reduction Team to help improve client levels of functioning and decrease the severity of disease and trauma symptoms. Prior to its implementation, no Harm Reduction clients were screened for trauma (0%); and only 23% were referred to mental health services. Additionally, one-third received mental health services; 25% were referred to seeking- safety, while just 18% received the interventions.
Once implemented, two-thirds (67%) of all clients were screened for trauma. Of these, 42% were referred to mental health services, and all 100% received mental health services; Likewise, 100% were referred to seeking-safety, and 92% received seeking-safety interventions. As evidenced by these results, integrating trauma-informed care with everyday practice has a direct effect on the client’s level of functioning, degree of disease severity, and degree of trauma symptoms.
Achieve Patient-Centered Care
Our findings and expertise have led us to develop the Trauma-Informed Module (TIM) as part of our electronic health record system. This tool guide the trauma screening and assessment, facilitate linkage and retention in care, and assist with comprehensive decision-making and care planning.
As a result, clinicians are empowered to more quickly change or fine-tune treatment plans when patients are not improving. Patients who regularly complete rating scales also are likely to become more knowledgeable about their disorders, attune to their symptoms and cognizant of the warning signs of relapse or reoccurrence, thus enabling them to better self-manage their illness and seek treatment without delay.
Succeed in Continuous Quality Improvement and Learning
BAC has been operating through a trauma-informed lens for eight years and has continued to invest in building an internal system and structure to sustain this organizational effort. In 2018, BAC joined a learning community run by the National Council for Behavioral Health. Following our participation in the learning community, BAC established a Steering Committee to lead this organizational cultural change through working on the following domains of care:
- Domain 1: Early Screening and Comprehensive Assessment
- Domain 2: Client-Driven Care and Services
- Domain 3: Wellness and Trauma-Informed, Educated, and Responsive Workforce
- Domain 4: Provision of Wellness-Oriented, Trauma-Informed, Evidence-Based, and Emerging Best Practices
- Domain 5: Create Safe and Secure Environments
- Domain 6: Engage in Community Outreach and Partnership Building
- Domain 7: Ongoing Performance Improvement and Evaluation
In 2019, BAC implemented the policy to provide annual trauma-informed care training to all staff. As part of the orientation, all new employees must complete the trauma-informed care 101 training. Further, BAC revised all job descriptions to include trauma-informed care language. In 2020 and beyond, BAC will further integrate trauma-informed care in our program operations and management, including talent recruitment, staff supervision, and performance evaluation.
As we continue to learn and deepen our practice in every aspect of our work, we continue to be inspired by the impact of this care approach. To learn more about our journey, please reach out to any member of the Executive Team.