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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

UAB: Life After Trauma – A Survey of Level 1 Trauma Centers Regarding Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Acute Stress Disorder

Patients admitted to Level 1 trauma centers in the United States are rarely assessed for or educated about the potentially devastating effects of acute stress disorder (ASD) or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

This descriptive research was conducted by a team of researchers, including Drs. Matthew Fifolt, Eric Ford, and Lisa McCormick, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, to describe current levels of assessment and education of ASD and PTSD in Level 1 trauma centers in the United States. The aims of this article are to (1) determine the extent to which Level 1 trauma centers in the United States assess and educate patients and providers about ASD and PTSD and (2) identify clinical staff who administer assessments and provide educational resources. A web-based survey was distributed to the trauma program managers and trauma medical directors of 209 adult and 70 pediatric Level 1 trauma centers in the United States.

For PTSD, 26 adult and 17 pediatric centers had an assessment protocol for use with trauma patients. For ASD, 13  adult and 13 pediatric centers utilized an assessment protocol for use with trauma patients. For PTSD, 12 adult and 8  pediatric centers offered educational protocols for use with trauma patients. Seven adult and 7 pediatric centers maintain educational protocols for ASD in trauma patients.

Results indicate that trauma patients are rarely assessed for or educated about the potential effects of PTSD or ASD. Formal and informal caregivers are also assessed and educated at low rates. Assessment, education, and incidence of PTSD and ASD should be included as universally measured health outcomes across trauma centers.

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