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A model for trauma-informed primary care

Roberts, Susan Jo DNSc, ANP, FAAN (Professor)1; Chandler, Genevieve E. PhD, RN (Associate Professor)2; Kalmakis, Karen PhD, MPH, FNP-BC, FAANP (Associate Professor)2

Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners: February 2019 - Volume 31 - Issue 2 - p 139–144
doi: 10.1097/JXX.0000000000000116
Clinical and Case Study Articles

ABSTRACT Childhood trauma has been associated with negative health behaviors and conditions in adulthood. However, few primary care providers screen for trauma or alter their care to accommodate the multiple effects of trauma on patient health. The purposes of this article were to discuss the health consequences of childhood trauma and to offer a model for trauma-informed primary care (TIPC). The TIPC model provides a guide for primary care providers to screen for adverse childhood experiences and personalize the care of patients with a history of childhood trauma. The model, based on the trauma-informed care model used in mental health, has five components: (a) screening and trauma recognition, (b) understanding the health effects of trauma, (c) patient-centered communication and care, (d) emphasis on emotional safety and avoiding triggers, and (e) knowledge of helpful treatment for trauma patients. The TIPC model offers a theoretical underpinning for improving the care, health care experiences, and health outcomes for patients with a history of childhood trauma.

1School of Nursing, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts,

2Department of Nursing, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts

Correspondence: Susan Jo Roberts, DNSc, ANP, FAAN, Robinson Hall, Northeastern University, School of Nursing, 360 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. Tel: 339-223-9911 (Mobile); 617-373-3130 (Office); E-mail:

Competing interests: The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Authors' contributions: Dr. Roberts assumed a leadership role in the writing of the manuscript and in all phases of its development. Dr. Chandler assisted in the writing and the development of all aspects of the manuscript. Dr. Kalmakis assisted in the writing and development of all aspects of the manuscript.

Received June 18, 2018

Accepted July 31, 2018

© 2019 American Association of Nurse Practitioners
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