You’ve just been called to assist with a crisis situation. Once you get to the location of the incident, things have settled down, but not before one caregiver has been injuried. Fortunately, everyone seems to be safe. The injured caregiver is given a break to get checked out by the nurse if there’s one on sight, and everyone else carries on with the care of the individuals served.
This scenario plays itself out daily in many organizations. Do we ever stop to ask if our response to these incidents is enough?
During a recent workshop, we had a lengthy class discussion on secondary trauma and its effect on caregivers. The consensus of the group was that we need to do a better job in our organizations of supporting caregivers, not just with the physical injuries they can experience in their jobs, but also with the emotional and psychological wounds that can occur. Many of the participants recounted experiences that significantly affected them or co-workers in ways that disrupted their lives, and the lack of support they felt they received.
In The Mandt System, we teach about trauma and its effect on people. In addition to the trauma that many of the individuals served in our programs have experienced, we also need to take seriously the trauma that caregivers may be experiencing as a result of the work they do. This is why it is important that we not only provide Trauma-Informed Care as we support people served but that we also practice Trauma-Informed Teamwork with each other as coworkers and take seriously the need in our organizations to create systems to support caregivers as they care for the individuals served.
Below is a link to an article which talks about some of these issues, the needs people may have, and ways to support them.
Doug ZehrVogt, Mandt System Faculty
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/crimes-and-misdemeanors/201302/critical-incident-stress-debriefing-traumatic-event injured staff