Making Your Patients Feel Safe

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A physician shakes a patient's hand.

Policy’s advice document provides examples of actions

In this issue, we have several articles about the provision of trauma-informed care. These include the connection between adverse childhood experiences and disease, how to make your patients with trauma feel seen and heard and tips for creating a safe place for your patients. 

In our recently updated policy, we encourage physicians to create and foster a safe, inclusive, and accessible environment in their practice.  

To help you in that effort, the companion advice document to the Human Rights in the Provision in Health Services policy provides some specific examples of actions you may wish to take: 

  • Become aware of your assumptions, beliefs, and privileges, and take steps to minimize biases when providing care; 
  • Learn about and respect your patient’s lived experience, racial/ethnic/cultural background, values/beliefs/worldview, sexual orientation, gender identity, and socioeconomic status, and understand how they relate to patient health outcomes; 
  • Communicate and collaborate with patients and/or others they wish to involve in their care to ensure treatment plans address patients’ specific needs; 
  • Incorporate a trauma/violence-informed approach to care (e.g., using EQUIP Health Care’s Trauma- and Violence-Informed Care Tool); and 
  • Identify and address barriers (e.g., language, physical) that may prevent or limit access to health services, and creating safe and inclusive spaces. 

Become aware of your assumptions, beliefs, and privileges

You may also help create safe, inclusive, and accessible environments through your role as a health advocate. This may mean advocating for an individual patient’s health care needs, advancing policies that promote the health and well-being of the public and a safe health care system, or actively challenging structures (e.g., policies and programs) that perpetuate inequities in the health care system.