Key Ingredients for Successful Trauma-Informed Care Implementation

Christopher Menschner
Alexandra Maul
April 2016

This resource, based on interviews with experts across the US, summarizes the key features of a trauma-informed approach to care. It includes a chart with descriptions of different approaches.

  • Trauma-informed care acknowledges the need to understand a person’s life experiences. It can improve patient engagement, treatment adherence, and health outcomes while reducing costs.
  • A set of relevant organizational competencies and clinical guidelines is emerging, but more needs to be done to develop an integrated, comprehensive approach.
  • Experts recommend reforming organizational practices prior to reforming clinical practices.
  • Key organizational practices include training staff in trauma-specific treatment, creating a safe environment, preventing secondary trauma in staff, and hiring a trauma-informed workforce.
  • Clinical components include involving patients in the treatment process, screening for trauma, and training staff in trauma-specific treatment approaches.
  • Moving forward, trauma-informed approaches to care need standardized language, payment reform, and a stronger evidence base.
Posted to The Playbook on
Population Addressed
Adults Under 65 with Disabilities
People with Advanced Illness
Frail Older Adults
People with Multiple Chronic Conditions
People with Behavioral Health and Social Needs
Key Questions Answered
  • What are the key steps to establishing a trauma-informed approach to care?
  • What are examples of various approaches?
  • What are the key opportunities for advancement in this area?
Level of Evidence
Expert Opinion
What does this mean?