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Defining Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma-informed care is a new idea being used in professional healthcare but also has application at home when working on recovery from PTSD. The idea is that in treatment of an injury, healthcare professionals need to not just look at treating the physical injury but look deeper into treating the trauma of the mind and address both equally. At home this is just as true, one needs to see that the physical injuries may heal but the mental health injuries can last a lot longer and affect the home environment. Creating a mentally safe environment at home for the person, is more conducive to healing.

Trauma-informed care seeks to:

  • Realize the widespread impact of trauma and understand paths for recovery;

  • Recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma in peers, families, and colleagues;

  • Integrate knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices; and

  • Actively avoid re-traumatization

The principles of trauma-informed care in the home can come with some effort at making it possible to talk about mental health as well as making healing a part of one’s lifestyle. It is those small changes in lifestyle that will help to not reactivate the trauma the person has experienced. Some small ways would be looking at the things that seem to make the person uneasy, anxious, or upset such as: sudden loud noises, tones that remind them of work such as on cellular phones. Television shows related to what they experienced as a frontline protector may also trigger some of those symptoms as well as watching the news. While it can be painful to discuss the details of a trauma with family, it can be possible to discuss what needs to be done to become healthy. Things like talking about going for counselling, needing to get outside, getting some exercise and getting fresh air together rather than the person who was injured doing these things alone.

In the journey of healing, re-entry into the community is something that happens when the person is ready. Going to a store and gaining that exposure to stimulus of a larger environment but only in small increments. So maybe you can only tolerate two minutes in a large store, but going with the support of your family can provide the opportunity to build on that success of two minutes that can then turn into five minutes.

Trauma is a difficult topic for discussion in most cases but when that trauma becomes an injury that trauma becomes even more difficult to discuss. Unresolved trauma may affect all parts of a person's life with lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, and/or spiritual well-being.

Ensuring that the physical and emotional safety of an individual is addressed is the first important step to providing Trauma-Informed Care. As the family undertakes the process of healing, the paramount objective is to reconnect the person and their family to sources of hope and recovery, empathetic and equal relationships, self-determination, empowerment, dignity, respect and social inclusion.

We at OSI-CAN do not see PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a Disorder, we see it as an Injury you can recover from. If you are suffering from the symptoms of an Occupational or Operational Stress Injury, then a PTSD or PTSI diagnosis is not required to get our help!

OSI-CAN Target Demographic

The target demographic of OSI-CAN are but are not limited to: former and serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces, Allied Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Frontline Protectors --- which include Municipal Police Services, CN Police Services, Emergency Medical Services, Fire Protection Services, Wildland Firefighters, Hospital Trauma personnel, Nurses, healthcare Workers, Social Workers, Animal Control Officers, Coroners, Indigenous Emergency Management, Victim Services Personnel, Emergency Communications Specialist, Corrections Officers, “Volunteer” First Responders, Conservation Officers, Aboriginal Emergency Services personnel, Tow Truck drivers who clean up accident scenes, Persons who in the performance of their jobs are exposed to criminal acts of Trauma like Prosecutors as one example, and their spouses/partners. This demographic was chosen due to the commonality of experiences they share through the service they provide to the country and community. We have a special interest and support volunteer first responders as they are not eligible for programs such as Workers' Compensation.

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