Trauma-Informed Care

NEWS UPDATE: Bridging Access to Care Article and Ad Featured in Summer 2021 Issue of BHNews

In 2012, we changed our name to Bridging Access To Care with a renewed commitment. We began piloting trauma-informed care (TIC) in various program operations and embarked on a discovery and innovation journey.

Being trauma-informed means that we “realize the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery; recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the system; and respond by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices, and seek to actively resist re-traumatization.” (U. S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

In the past ten years, we have increased our technology, program design and development, and staff capacity to deliver this care model.

We look forward to leading this work and sharing our lessons learned with the broader community health care networks.

We invite you to check out these resources to learn more about “What is Trauma?”

SAMHSA Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach

Trauma-Informed Care – National Council for Behavioral Health

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.