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Executive Summary: Eisner Health's Journey Through Implementing Trauma Informed Care

 

Eisner Health's Journey Through Implementing Trauma Informed Care

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.

Executive Summary

“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

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I was proud to be on both sides of this project paper and am so grateful to be a member of both teams. Lori explained the framework of a trauma-informed approach simply and clearly which offered the context of the stories from staff. Eisner Health team members from across the organization shared their personal and professional experiences. Perspectives from a variety of departments including medical, behavioral health, dental and administration and across a variety of roles including front and back office staff, providers, human resources, facilities management, case managers, were shared.

My personal favorite part of the project was hearing how trauma-informed care training impacted staff's inner wellness and relationships. More than one mentioned how thinking in this way shifted how they saw their kids and others shared that it helped with compassion and empathy for what their parents had gone through. This work heals exponentially and intergenerationally and if you don't believe me then keep reading and listening to everyone in this community. The learnings from this paper transcend any specific sector because a trauma-informed approach starts with each of us. Check out the stories and learn more about how you can integrate this work into your setting and create a healing space for staff and patients alike!

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