Since July 2020, ACEs Aware has awarded 185 grants totaling $45.1 million to organizations statewide to augment the state of California’s work on the ACEs Aware initiative. Origins Training & Consulting received one of these grants to tell the story of Eisner Health's journey in implementing a trauma-informed approach as written by @Lori Chelius.
“When we take care of ourselves, that’s when
we can provide the best care for others.”
- Eisner Health team member
When Eisner Health, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in Southern California, began to integrate trauma-informed care (TIC) into its practices, the organization’s primary goal was to reduce the number of escalations among staff and with patients. Members of the team didn’t realize the
profound impact a trauma-informed approach would have on their culture, the patient experience, and their personal lives as well.
Trauma-informed care includes awareness of the prevalence of trauma and adversity (including early adversity) and understanding of the impacts of trauma on physical, emotional, and mental health. Its principles help support a strengths-based and nonjudgmental approach to toxic stress risk assessment and intervention, and to prevent inadvertent re-traumatization of patients and vicarious traumatization of service providers.
Intrigued by TIC’s principles and promising benefits, Eisner Health secured funding to implement this approach within the organization and began the planning process. Through a series of surveys,
training sessions, planning initiatives, clinic by- clinic rollouts, long-term supports, and organizational changes, Eisner Health’s team has begun transforming not only its patient care, but also its culture.
Along the way, Eisner Health leveraged several facilitators that propelled its success, experienced complex challenges, and learned invaluable lessons and best practices that it uses to guide ongoing implementation and share knowledge with others. Some of the top lessons learned include:
RECOGNIZE TIC AS A CRITICAL FOUNDATION FOR IMPLEMENTING ACE SCREENING
If your organization is implementing ACE screening, pair it with TIC to support long-term sustainability and work toward achieving an even greater impact.
KNOW YOUR “WHY” BEFORE BEGINNING
Defining the high-level vision or purpose Eisner Health was trying to achieve kept everyone focused on a shared goal and laid a strong foundation for long-term sustainability.
ROOT TIC IN ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE
Eisner Health navigated its TIC implementation as a long-term, cultural initiative, not a one-time or standalone project. This helped facilitate buy-in, make the integration smoother, and achieve long-lasting results.
FOCUS INWARD FIRST
As Eisner Health implemented TIC, it prioritized looking inward first, with a specific focus on supporting staff resilience as the foundation for improving the patient experience. This approach helped the team make a greater impact both internally and externally.
CREATE A COMMON LANGUAGE
Across departments, Eisner Health established a consistent definition and language for TIC, stress management, and resilience. This shared understanding was a critical step in building empathy,
shifting the organization’s culture to acknowledge that team members bring their whole selves to work, and laying a foundation to focus on staff wellness.
INCORPORATE THE VOICE OF PATIENTS AND STAFF WHEN DESIGNING SOLUTIONS
Including patients on implementation teams and getting input from staff about their needs helped all parties feel heard and ensured that the solutions designed would be truly effective.
These best practices and others led to powerful results at Eisner Health. In addition to reducing the number of complaints and incidents (such as escalations to a supervisor and calls to security), employees say they feel safer, more supported, and more empowered to manage stressful situations within themselves, with other team members, and with patients. With more knowledge and tools at its disposal, Eisner Health has created a better experience for staff and patients alike.
While Eisner Health customized its approach, many of its strategies and lessons learned are universal and can be applied by any organization in any sector.
You can download the project paper in its entirety here: https://originstraining.org/ei...mp;utm_campaign=exec