Clinician Connect

How to deliver trauma-informed care

30 Aug 2022 Reading time approximately

Trauma-informed healthcare has the power to improve patient engagement, health outcomes and staff wellbeing. Learn how a new trauma-informed care framework can help improve your service.

The link between experiencing trauma and developing mental health conditions is well established. Trauma-informed care improves the care you deliver by:

  • acknowledging that people accessing mental health services are likely to have experienced trauma (physically or emotionally harmful events or circumstances that have lasting negative effects)
  • considering how trauma affects people’s lives and their healthcare needs, to avoid retraumatising the person.

Trauma-informed care improves the wellbeing of patients, clients and their health professionals.

Illustration: Four people participating in a group counselling session

Using trauma-informed care

The new Trauma-informed care framework supports NSW mental health services to implement trauma-informed care by outlining what good practice looks like for mental health systems, services and those providing care.

The framework helps mental health workers embed trauma-informed care by translating theory into clear actions they can take under six priority areas. It helps clinicians provide safer mental health services, and will lead to better outcomes for staff and people accessing mental health services in NSW.

“We are undertaking a mapping process to look at how the framework links with our existing structures and processes,” says Lyndal Sherwin, Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Clinical Rehabilitation Coordinator at Northern Sydney Local Health District. “So the framework can be embedded in a contextual and meaningful way.”

The framework is a wonderful resource to affirm existing work and provide practical guidance on where we can continue to grow in providing authentic trauma-informed care and practice.

Lyndal Sherwin, Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Clinical Rehabilitation Manager

The framework is accompanied by helpful resources to support implementation, such as:

  • Evidence to support embedding trauma-informed care
  • Training on applying trauma-informed care principles (search course code #427297565)
  • A webinar series exploring trauma-informed service transformations during COVID.

Quick guide to trauma-informed care for any health service

Safety - ensure physical and emotional safety
Choice - individuals have choice and control
Empowerment - prioritise enablement and skill building
Trustworthiness - task clarity, consistency, interpersonal boundaries
Collaboration - share decision making and power

A new pathway to life-saving suicide care

Suicide is a complex problem, but no one should have to go through the grief of losing a loved one to suicide. The ACI is supporting the NSW Health Zero Suicides in Care initiative by developing a pathway for clinicians caring for people with suicidal behaviours.

Implementing the pathway will help clinicians deliver high-quality and evidence-based care that includes comprehensive identification, assessment, intervention and transition of care. Mental health services will also benefit from applying the trauma-informed care framework as they follow the care pathway.

A toolkit to implement the pathway includes:

  • the pathway, a best-practice guide to delivering clinical care to people with suicidal ideation and behaviour
  • a guide that gives local health districts, specialty health networks and other state-funded services a step-by-step approach to develop their own localised pathways
  • there is also a checklist, workplan, gap analysis tool and other resources available.

Explore the suicide care pathway toolkit resources.

The Agency for Clinical Innovation’s Mental Health Network is collaboratively supporting the development and implementation of evidence-based innovative programs, frameworks and models of care that improve the quality and experience of mental health care for clinicians, patients and families.

We work closely with the Ministry of Health’s Mental Health Branch and the Mental Health Coordinating Council.

Subscribe to stay informed about healthcare innovations

Back to top