3 Benefits of Utilizing the Trauma-Informed Approach in Health Care Settings

October 21, 2020

3 Benefits of Utilizing the Trauma-Informed Approach in Health Care Settings


As health care providers become increasingly aware of trauma’s contribution to negative health outcomes, there is a growing consensus of professionals who recognize the importance of utilizing trauma-informed approaches in health care settings.


Trauma-informed care asks providers to consider a patient’s past and current life experiences. Adopting a trauma-informed approach may mitigate the negative health risks associated with trauma and improve health outcomes for both children and adults.  


Here are three benefits of utilizing the trauma-informed approach in health care settings:


  1. Improvement of patient engagement and relationships

Many patients who have been exposed to traumatic experiences such as emotional and physical abuse or neglect, household dysfunction, and/or environmental trauma, such as systemic racism or community violence, may find it difficult to seek medical care or trust medical providers. Including routine trauma screenings in primary care visits opens the door for discussions with patients about the link between trauma, unhealthy behaviors, and negative health outcomes. These conversations educate and empower patients to become partners with providers in improving their health.


  1. Increased treatment participation and adherence

Navigating the complexities of the health care system can be overwhelming for traumatized individuals. Organizations utilizing a trauma-informed approach seek to increase patient access to treatment by streamlining referral pathways and embedding specialty and behavioral health providers in primary care settings. This integration makes it easier for trauma-exposed individuals to access the services they need, keep appointments, and adhere to treatment.


  1. Reduction of avoidable care and excess costs

Dr. Jeffery Brenner, founder of the famous “hot-spotting” program in Camden, NJ states, "The best predictor we've found for health care spending, health care utilization, poorly controlled chronic illness, obesity, substance abuse,smoking, and out-of-wedlock teen birth is the number of bad things that happen to you as a kid." Implementing trauma-informed approaches in the healthcare system has led to reductions in ER visits, re-hospitalizations, and care visits associated with chronic illness - areas that have traditionally driven the highest levels of health care spending.


By utilizing the trauma-informed approach, health care organizations can empower patients, improve their health, and help alleviate some of the financial impact on the health care system.









The Commonwealth Fund. (2016, June 24). InFocus: Recognizing Trauma as a Means of Engaging Patients. [web log post]https://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/newsletter-article/2016/jun/focus-recognizing-trauma-means-engaging-patients


Davis, R., & Maul, A. (2015). Trauma-informed care: opportunities for high-need high-cost Medicaid populations. Center for Health Care Strategies, Inc.


Lewis(2015). The Cost-Saving Potential of Trauma-Informed Primary Care. Retrieved from https://ldi.upenn.edu/news/cost-saving-potential-trauma-informed-primary-care


Menschner, C., & Maul, A. (2016). Key ingredients for successful trauma-informed care implementation. Trenton. Trenton: Center for Health Care Strategies, Incorporated.


Trauma-Informed Care Implementation Resource Center. (2019). What is trauma-informed care? Retrieved from https://www.traumainformedcare.chcs.org/what-is-trauma-informed-care/


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