Center for Injury Research and Prevention

Renewed Support for Promoting Trauma-Informed Pediatric Healthcare

April 25, 2019
patient needs trauma-informed care

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s (CHOP) Center for Pediatric Traumatic Stress (CPTS), founded in 2002, was recently refunded for another five years by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as part of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). Co-located at CHOP and the A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children (AIDHC) in Delaware, CPTS will continue to address medical trauma in the lives of children and families. 

With tens of millions of children facing illness, injury, pain, and frightening treatment experiences each year in the US, CPTS aims to reduce the impact of medical traumatic stress on children and families. We do this by promoting trauma-informed pediatric healthcare and, through training and other efforts, ensuring that healthcare providers across the US are knowledgeable in trauma-informed care with patients and families. An expanded area of focus for CPTS will be health disparities as they relate to trauma-informed care:

  • rural versus urban hospital settings
  • potential disparities based on race / ethnicity or preferred language.

Partnering with Medical Interpreters

One provider group that we will be partnering with during this grant cycle is medical interpreters. For the diverse population of patients and their families served by CHOP, medical interpreters are a literal lifeline. While proficient in a foreign language, they may, however, be less prepared on an emotional level for the traumatic situations and conversations they handle every day.

Medical interpreters are crucial to communicating with families that have limited English proficiency. They guide families through a complex healthcare process and are often the messengers of upsetting news. Medical interpreters must provide face-to-face translation services in real time for families with clarity and compassion. Funding from SAMHSA makes it possible for CPTS to prioritize medical interpreters’ education in trauma-informed care and self-care and raise awareness about their needs.

We will partner with medical interpreters locally at CHOP and AIDHC, as well as regionally and nationally, to create training materials on trauma-informed translation practices, as well as guidance on maintaining emotional and physical well-being for medical interpreters. New resources may include one-on-one training, online materials, workbooks, and assessment tools.

Due to its core focus on ill and injured children who are seen in secondary and tertiary healthcare settings, including hospitals, emergency departments, and subspecialty medical care offices, CPTS is unique in NCTSN. We are committed to working with all healthcare providers to create and distribute evidence-based training on trauma-informed practices for working with children and families, as well as self-care to alleviate stress and burnout.

All of us at CPTS are excited by the opportunity this grant affords to continue to develop resources for all providers and specifically for medical interpreters. They are vital, but sometimes overlooked, members of the patient care team.