Article Review: From Traditional Inpatient to Trauma-Informed Treatment: Transferring Control from Staff to Patient (Chandler, 2008)

At least 85% of mental health consumers report exposure to trauma at some point in their lives. A vast majority of these consumers lack the appropriate coping skills to manage their emotions and reactions appropriately, traditionally resulting in the use of restraints, isolation or coercion when in an inpatient setting. The shift to trauma-informed care requires staff working with these patients to understand that the individual is doing the best they can, with the coping skills they have based on their life experiences. Trauma-informed care involves including consumers in their treatment and allowing them to have a voice in what they feel would be of most benefit. Below are some basic ways to create a trauma-informed treatment environment in an inpatient setting:



  • Provide education and skills training to help consumers better understand their diagnosis and present them with opportunities to both develop and practice new coping skills


  • Emphasize individual choice and allow the consumer to be an active participant in their treatment and treatment decisions


  • Focus on interventions that are strength based and culturally sensitive


  • Work to reduce re-traumatization by educating staff on the effects of trauma


  • Share information with consumers, starting at admission, to help them understand the process and encourage them to actively participate in their treatment


  • Allow patients to use one another as a resource


  • Encourage staff to focus on building relationships with consumers and promote connectedness with others


  • Provide consumers with choices in regards to their care and what they feel will be the most effective approach


  • Create and implement safety protocols from admission to discharge



Chandler, G. (2008). From Traditional Inpatient to Trauma-Informed Treatment: Transferring Control From Staff to Patient. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 14(5), 363-371. doi:10.1177/1078390308326625



Crystal Henson, MA
Doctoral Intern



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